George R. Kravis II (1938-2018)

COBO Challenge

Friends and family members spoke last evening in celebrating the memory of George R. Kravis II, the renowned design collector who passed in February, at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum. Kravis’s immense passion for design, his endless curiosity, generosity, and warm personality, as well as his gifts to the Museum were all highlighted. I want to say a few words about my own memory of George. It was a snowy New York day, one of those stormy days that keep everyone at home, when I made my way to meet him for the first time at the apartment of his curator David Hanks. We spent two hours together and it was not only a beginning of friendship, but also a discovery of a unique type of collector. To George, the love for design was a long journey that started in his childhood in Tulsa Oklahoma, but collecting had come to connect him with parts of history that he loved, with people, museums, transforming design into an eternal quest and lifestyle. There are handful design collectors in NY, each has its own interest, each collection is personal. George’s design collection had no boundaries, and the principle informing its identity was the quest for the finest design produced by industry. Now that he is gone, his spirit is living in the Cooper Hewitt and in other museums which have benefited from this immense passion. All images courtesy of the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum.




Dr. Daniella Ohad is a design historian, educator, writer, and tastemaker, who received her Ph.D. degree from the Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design and Culture. For the past two decades, she has been committed to education in design history and theory, history of the interior, material culture, and the decorative arts, with a special expertise in modern and contemporary design culture. She has taught in some of the world’s leading art institutions, and currently leads “Collecting Design: History, Collections, Highlights, the only program on collecting design at the New York School of Interior Design. Her articles and critiques have been published in magazines and peer-review journals, and she is a moderator in various design events across the globe. Dr. Ohad has been a member in various acquisition committees in NYC museums, and her blog Daniella on Design attracts hundreds of thousands of readers weekly. She lives and works in New York City.



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