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Edward Wormley Furniture

Edward Wormley (USA, 1907-1995)

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 these pages demonstrate, Edward Wormley conceived of a subdued sort of modernism, designing furniture that fits into any decorating scheme and does not shout for attention.

Iconic Designs from Edward Wormley
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
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Creator:Edward Wormley
Dealer:Assemblage Ltd.
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Edward Wormley Bleached Mahogany Corner Table for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar Minimalist design bleached mahogany corner table number 4977. Nicely grained woods with open design and expert craftsmanship. Comes with custom flannel cove...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bleached and Glazed Walnut Parsons End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Edward Wormley "Bucket Seat" Leather and Mahogany Club Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Pair of Edward Wormley for Dunbar camel leather and mahogany armchairs. Original channeled leather seats and backs with mahogany legs and stretchers. Rare design from Wormley and Dun...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Leather, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rolled Back Club Chair
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Ash, Brass, Silk

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Solid Brass and Marble Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass, Marble

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut, Rosewood and Aluminium Inlaid End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1960s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut, Aluminum, Rosewood

Edward Wormley Mahogany and Rosewood Raised Edge Credenza
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar mahogany cabinet with four large drawers and a center shelved cabinet on plinth base. The pair of cabinet doors and drawers are accessed by carved solid ros...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Pair of Edward Wormley Mahogany and Grey Wool Barrel Back Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar barrel back arm chairs in mahogany and blue/gray wool upholstery. Great understated design that reveals unique qualities, would make great desk chairs as we...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley Lounge Chair in Moss Green Wool Upholstery
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar lounge chair with unique setback front legs, and clad in moss green wool upholstery. Extremely comfortable with deep seat cushion and slight angle of the th...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood, Wool

Early 1940 Edward Wormley Wing Chair for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1940s American Georgian Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Linen, Mahogany

Edward Wormley Bleached and Glazed Mahogany Side Chair
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Cane, Mahogany, Naugahyde

Dunbar Walnut and Cane Credenza by Edward Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar walnut and cane sideboard on recessed plinth base. Gullwing style side doors open to reveal three storage compartments for each door. Centre figured walnut ...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Modular Six-Piece Credenza by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Very rare and unusual piece by Edward Wormley. This modular credenza in walnut can be put together in a host of different configurations. Detailed with large Moorish style solid bras...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Pair of Edward Wormley Janus Collection Lounge Chairs by Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Pair of Edward Wormley for Dunbar Janus collection armchairs. Carved walnut arms and legs with exposed frame. Raspberry red linen upholstery with a button tufted back with curved and...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Linen, Walnut

Pair of Edward Wormley Walnut Open-Arm Lounge Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Two architectural open arm lounge chairs in walnut by Dunbar, with green and blue horizontal stripe upholstery.
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Eight Edward Wormley Mahogany, Leather and Brass Dining Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Set of eight mahogany wood and apricot leather curved panel back dining chairs by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Set is comprised of two arm chairs and six side chairs. Rarely seen colle...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Leather

Edward Wormley Walnut and Olive Ash Burl Tall Cabinet for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Described in Dunbar catalogs as "#6027 High Piece" this incredible curved front cabinet is constructed of walnut with olive ash burled lower cabinet doors and a brass-clad plinth bas...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut X Stretcher Side Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Brass, Walnut

Uncommon Edward Wormley Five-Leg Walnut Coffee Table for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Walnut

Edward Wormley Bleached Mahogany Reeded Curule Leg Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1940s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Rare Edward Wormley Custom Mahogany and Natural Rosewood Oval Dining Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Outstanding custom-made large oval dining table designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Dark stained mahogany border, incised apron and squared legs. Inlaid bookmatched rosewood venee...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Mahogany, Rosewood

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut and Rosewood Parsons Leg Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Rosewood, Walnut

Edward Wormley Flame Mahogany and Glass Coffee Table for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Glass, Mahogany

Rare Edward Wormley Hexagonal Mahogany and Tawi Dining Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Uncommon hexagonal dining table by Edward Wormley for Dunbar. Tawi wood top, bordered with ebonized mahogany. Ebonized mahogany legs and notched apron. Sold with three offset grain T...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Wood, Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar English Oak and Rosewood Four-Drawer Credenza
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Chicago, IL
Rare Edward Wormley for Dunbar credenza with rosewood sled based open bottom casement. Four large file sized drawers with English oak fronts and patinated bronze pulls. Matching desk...
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Oak, Rosewood

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Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bleached and Glazed Walnut Parsons End Table
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Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut X Stretcher Side Table
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Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut, Rosewood and Aluminium Inlaid End Table
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Pair Edward Wormley Mahogany End Tables with Brass Feet
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Edward Wormley Bleached Mahogany Reeded Curule Leg Table
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Edward Wormley Bleached and Glazed Mahogany Side Chair
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Uncommon Edward Wormley Five-Leg Walnut Coffee Table for Dunbar
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Edward Wormley for Dunbar Rolled Back Club Chair
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
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Ash, Brass, Silk

Early 1940 Edward Wormley Wing Chair for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1940s American Georgian Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

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Edward Wormley for Dunbar Solid Brass and Marble Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
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Materials

Brass, Marble

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Walnut and Rosewood Parsons Leg Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Category

1950s American Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

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