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Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley (USA, 1907–95)
Edward Wormley (USA, 1907–95)

As the longtime director of design for the Dunbar furniture company, Edward Wormley was, along with such peers as George Nelson at Herman Miller Inc., and Florence Knoll of Knoll Inc., one of the leading forces in bringing modern design into American homes in the mid-20th century. Not an axiomatic modernist, Wormley deeply appreciated traditional design, and consequently his work has an understated warmth and a timeless quality that sets it apart from other furnishings of the era.

Wormley was born in rural Illinois and as a teenager took correspondence courses from the New York School of Interior Design. He later attended the Art Institute of Chicago but ran out of money for tuition before he could graduate. Marshall Field hired Wormley in 1930 to design a line of reproduction 18th-century English furniture; the following year he was hired by the Indiana-based Dunbar, where he quickly distinguished himself. It was a good match. Dunbar was an unusual firm: it did not use automated production systems; its pieces were mostly hand-constructed. For his part, Wormley did not use metal as a major component of furniture; he liked craft elements such as caned seatbacks, tambour drawers, or the woven-wood cabinet fronts seen on his Model 5666 sideboard of 1956. He designed two lines for Dunbar each year — one traditional, one modern — until 1944, by which time the contemporary pieces had become the clear best sellers.

Many of Wormley’s signature pieces are modern interpretations of traditional forms. His 1946 Riemerschmid Chair — an example is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art — recapitulates a late 19th-century German design. The long, slender finials of his Model 5580 dining chairs are based on those of Louis XVI chairs; his Listen-to-Me Chaise (1948) has a gentle Rococo curve; the “Precedent” line that Wormley designed for Drexel Furniture in 1947 is a simplified, pared-down take on muscular Georgian furniture. But he could invent new forms, as his Magazine table of 1953, with its bent wood pockets, and his tiered Magazine Tree (1947), both show. And Wormley kept his eye on design currents, creating a series of tables with tops that incorporate tiles and roundels by the great modern ceramicists Otto and Gertrud Natzler. As the items on 1stDibs demonstrate, Edward Wormley conceived of a subdued sort of modernism, designing furniture that fits into any decorating scheme and does not shout for attention.

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Creator:Edward Wormley
Dealer:DeAngelis
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Edward Wormley Design Cube Tables for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design cube tables for Dunbar Furniture Co. Rare original pair of end or side tables in black laminate with mahogany parquetry inlay. Very good original condition with...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Laminate

Edward Wormley for Dunbar "Serene" Bench, Model 4955
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design "Serene" bench for Dunbar, Berne Indiana. Model 4955 is a rare and important design by Wormley with the introduction of his signature hairpin leg and Dunbar's h...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery

Edward Wormley Long John Bench for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Shelf for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Steel, Burl

Edward Wormley for Dunbar End Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Desk for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather, Oak

Edward Wormley Sheaf of Wheat Table for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Travertine

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Chest of Drawers
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Game Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Rosewood

Edward Wormley Dining Chairs for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Dunbar Coffee Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design for Dunbar Furniture Co. Model 6029 Perfectly refinished burl elm top on sculpted mahogany base with brass feet.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley Brass Bench for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Credenza
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Snack Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Trio of Dunbar Armchairs
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Set of three Edward Wormley design armchairs for Dunbar Furniture Company. Smart and sophisticated armchairs completely refinished and newly upholstered in velvet. Sold individual...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Side Tables
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Related Items
Edward Wormley for Dunbar End Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Sheaf of Wheat Table for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Travertine

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Snack Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Side Tables
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Game Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Rosewood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Credenza
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Desk for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather, Oak

Edward Wormley Shelf for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Steel, Burl

Edward Wormley Dining Chairs for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley Brass Bench for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley Long John Bench for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Chest of Drawers
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Previously Available Items
Edward Wormley Long John Bench for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design "Long John" bench or coffee table for Dunbar. Perfectly refinished and tagged.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

  • Edward Wormley Long John Bench for Dunbar
  • Edward Wormley Long John Bench for Dunbar
  • Edward Wormley Long John Bench for Dunbar
  • Edward Wormley Long John Bench for Dunbar
H 11.5 in. W 72 in. D 19 in.
Dunbar Dining Chairs
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design for Dunbar Furniture Co. Excellent original condition, one pair available.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

  • Dunbar Dining Chairs
  • Dunbar Dining Chairs
  • Dunbar Dining Chairs
  • Dunbar Dining Chairs
H 33 in. Dm 24.5 in.
Edward Wormley Captain's Chairs for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Elegant design armchair by Edward Wormley for Dunbar Furniture co. Berne Indiana Model 5480. Excellent original condition examples made from oak with caned backs and brass sabots. So...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Oak

  • Edward Wormley Captain's Chairs for Dunbar
  • Edward Wormley Captain's Chairs for Dunbar
  • Edward Wormley Captain's Chairs for Dunbar
  • Edward Wormley Captain's Chairs for Dunbar
H 33 in. W 24.5 in. D 25 in.
Dunbar "Constellation" Side Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design "Constellation" side table for Dunbar Furniture Co. Excellent vintage condition with expected minor surface scuffs to the top.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Pair of Janus Lounge Chairs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Beautifully restored pair of Janus lounge chairs designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Newly refinished mahogany frames and upholstered in a warm silver satin wool, labeled.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Dunbar Tête-a-Tête
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design for Dunbar Furniture Co. Tete-a-tete. Ebonized walnut frame with brass sabots, newly upholstered in Maharam satin wool. Perfect for entertaining or creating ...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

  • Dunbar Tête-a-Tête
  • Dunbar Tête-a-Tête
  • Dunbar Tête-a-Tête
  • Dunbar Tête-a-Tête
H 27.5 in. W 81 in. D 27.5 in.
Janus Wing Chair by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Exceptional design by Edward Wormley for his pinnacle Janus line for Dunbar, 1957. Perfectly refinished chiseled mahogany frame with new cotton velvet upholstery, Labeled.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley Drexel End Tables
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design for his "Precedent" line developed for Drexel furniture co. Interesting angular design offering storage below with a leather top surface perfect for table lamps...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

  • Edward Wormley Drexel End Tables
  • Edward Wormley Drexel End Tables
  • Edward Wormley Drexel End Tables
  • Edward Wormley Drexel End Tables
H 28 in. W 20 in. D 20 in.
Alexandria Chair by Edward Wormley for Dunbar Furniture Co.
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Alexandria chair designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar Furniture Co. An elegant and rare example with sculptural serpentine arms and an oval throne cushion. Perfectly refinished and...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Edward Wormley for Dunbar "Captain Armchair"
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design for Dunbar "Captain Armchair" made from molded oak and new caned back. Perfectly refinished and labeled.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Oak

Dunbar ‘Constellation’ Table
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Rare and sculptural Edward Wormley design "Constellation" table for Dunbar. Very good original condition with minor hair lines in laminate top, original order form and label affixed.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Dunbar Short Sofa
By Edward Wormley
Located in San Francisco, CA
Edward Wormley design short sofa for Dunbar on a mahogany bracket foot frame and a double barrel back. Completely refinished and newly upholstered in deep teal fabric.
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Wool

  • Dunbar Short Sofa
  • Dunbar Short Sofa
  • Dunbar Short Sofa
  • Dunbar Short Sofa
H 30 in. W 54.5 in. D 28.5 in.

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