Skip to main content

Edward Wormley

American, 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 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.

Average Sold Price
$4,728
Styles
Materials
Iconic Designs from Edward Wormley
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
A-Frame Chair
A-Frame Chair
Heart Chair
Heart Chair
Dunbar Tambour Cabinet by Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley
Located in Dallas, TX
A walnut tambour door bar cabinet with stone top and brass hardware. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Category

1960s Vintage Edward Wormley

Materials

Walnut

  • Dunbar Tambour Cabinet by Edward Wormley
  • Dunbar Tambour Cabinet by Edward Wormley
  • Dunbar Tambour Cabinet by Edward Wormley
  • Dunbar Tambour Cabinet by Edward Wormley
H 28.75 in. W 48 in. D 20 in.
Brass-Accented Edward Wormley for Dunbar Bench in Mohair, 1950s
By Edward Wormley, Dunbar Furniture
Located in Stamford, CT
Beautifully restored bench designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar, circa 1950s. Reupholstered in deep blue mohair by Beacon Hill. The walnut frame features hand-polished brass stret...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Edward Wormley

Materials

Brass

Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
By Edward Wormley
Located in Dallas, TX
A walnut dresser with rosewood handle and brass feet. Designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar.
Category

1950s Vintage Edward Wormley

Materials

Walnut

  • Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
  • Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
  • Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
  • Chest by Edward Wormley for Dunbar
H 30.375 in. W 40 in. D 18.75 in.
Ten Dunbar Bracket Back Dining Chairs by Edward Wormley
By Edward Wormley
Located in Dallas, TX
A set of ten Dunbar model 5516 bracket back dining chairs designed by Edward Wormley. Refinished mahogany frames and new upholstery.
Category

1950s Vintage Edward Wormley

Materials

Mahogany

Edward Wormley for Dunbar Mid Century Executive Desk
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in La Grange, IL
Edward Wormley for Dunbar mid century executive desk Desk measures: 60 wide x 27 deep x 29.25 inches high with a chair clearance of 24.5 inches All pieces of furniture can be had...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley

Materials

Wood

Pair of Edward Wormley Armchairs
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Edward Wormley Janus Collection for Dunbar. Solid oak frames with stainless steel stretchers that connect the legs. The chair have their original finish and have been reupholstered i...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley

Materials

Stainless Steel

  • Pair of Edward Wormley Armchairs
  • Pair of Edward Wormley Armchairs
  • Pair of Edward Wormley Armchairs
  • Pair of Edward Wormley Armchairs
H 32 in. W 25.25 in. D 27 in.
Edward Wormley Lounge and Ottoman
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Chicago, IL
Wormley for Dunbar lounge chair and ottoman. Original leather, with bronze base and inlay rosewood details. Ottoman: D: 19 W: 24 H: 16.5.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley

Materials

Bronze

  • Edward Wormley Lounge and Ottoman
  • Edward Wormley Lounge and Ottoman
  • Edward Wormley Lounge and Ottoman
  • Edward Wormley Lounge and Ottoman
H 42 in. W 30 in. D 42 in.
Dunbar Sofa, Brass Legs by Edward Wiormley Real Mohair Fabric, Excellent
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in Kansas City, MO
Stunning Edward Wormley for Dunbar sofa. Nine feet Long with Solid Brass Legs (These legs can be polished to a beautiful luster if you prefer). The sofa has been expertly restored an...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley

Materials

Brass

Browse all Furniture from Edward Wormley
Shop Now

Edward Wormley Sellers

Creators Similar to Edward Wormley

Edward Wormley Furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

The Edward Wormley furniture is available on 1stDibs for sale. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. In our collection of Edward Wormley furniture, there are many options, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. We have 1,053 vintage editions of these items in-stock, while there is 0 modern edition to choose from as well. Many original furniture by Edward Wormley were created in North America during the 20th century in the Mid-Century Modern style. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider Furniture by Herman Miller Furniture, Milo Baughman Furniture and Dunbar Furniture. Prices for Edward Wormley furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. Priced at $300 on 1stDibs, these items top out at $43,281, while pieces like these can sell for $5,855.