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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
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Pair of Wormley for Dunbar Dining Chairs with Brass Handles
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Wonderful pair of dining chairs designed by Edward Wormley for Dunbar ( model 4710A ). These chairs have been newly restored, refinished and reupholstered, and are in excellent ready...
Category

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

Materials

Brass

Dunbar Extension Dining Table by Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Pair of Step End Tables designed by Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Pair of Tables designed by Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Elegant Dunbar Janus Dining Table with Two Leaves
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Elegant two-tone mahogany dining table having a dark stained border. Frame, and legs, with lighter tone interior table surface. This high quality table is in very fine, original, rea...
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Excellent Set of 8 Dunbar Dining Chairs designed by Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Upholstery, Wood

Pair of Wormley for Dunbar Long John Tables
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Wormley for Dunbar Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Glass, Mahogany, Cork

Sheaf of Wheat Table by Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Glass, Wood

Rare Wormley for Dunbar Coffee Table 56309
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Brass, Glass, Wood

Wormley for Dunbar Cantilevered End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Trapezoid Top Wormley For Dunbar Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

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Excellent Set of 8 Dunbar Dining Chairs designed by Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Upholstery, Wood

Pair of Wormley for Dunbar Long John Tables
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Walnut

Pair of Tables designed by Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Fine Pair of Wormley for Dunbar Janus Chairs
By Dunbar Furniture
Located in New York, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Materials

Upholstery, Wood

Wormley for Dunbar Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Glass, Mahogany, Cork

Dunbar Extension Dining Table by Wormley
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Pair of Step End Tables designed by Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Mahogany

Sheaf of Wheat Table by Wormley for Dunbar
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Glass, Wood

Wormley for Dunbar Cantilevered End Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

Set of 4 Mid Century Dining Chairs after Risom
By Jens Risom, Gunlocke
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Upholstery, Walnut

Rare Wormley for Dunbar Coffee Table 56309
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

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

Materials

Brass, Glass, Wood

Trapezoid Top Wormley For Dunbar Coffee Table
By Dunbar Furniture, Edward Wormley
Located in New York, NY
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Edward Wormley Furniture

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