George Nelson (USA, 1908-1986)

Architect, designer, and writer, George Nelson was a central figure in the mid-century American modernist design movement; and his thoughts influenced not only the furniture we live with, but also how we live.

     Nelson came to design via journalism and literature. Upon receiving his bachelor’s degree in architecture from Yale in 1931, he won the Prix de Rome fellowship, and spent his time in Europe writing magazine articles that helped bring stateside recognition to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Gio Ponti, Le Corbusier and other canonical modernist architects. In the 1940s, Nelson wrote texts that suggested such now-commonplace ideas as open-plan houses, storage walls and family rooms. D.J. Depree, the owner of the furniture maker Herman Miller Inc., was so impressed by Nelson that in 1944 — following the sudden death of Gilbert Rohde, who had introduced the firm to modern design in the 1930s — he invited Nelson to join the company as its design director.

     There Nelson’s curatorial design talents came to the fore. To Herman Miller he brought such eminent creators as Charles and Ray Eames, Isamu Noguchi, and the textile and furniture designer Alexander Girard. Thanks to a clever contract, at the same time as he directed Herman Miller he formed a New York design company, George Nelson & Associates, that sold furniture designs to the Michigan firm, as well as its competitor, the Howard Miller Clock Company. Nelson’s New York team of designers (who were rarely individually credited) would create such iconic pieces as the “Marshmallow” sofa, the “Coconut” chair, the “Ball” clock, the “Bubble” lamp series and the many cabinets and beds that comprise the sleek “Thin-Edge” line.

     For dedicated collectors, as well as for interior designers who look beyond “the look,” there is a “cool-factor” inherent to vintage pieces from George Nelson and others. Nelson was in on it from the start, and it’s valuable to have a piece that was there with him. But still, as is evident from the offerings from dealers on these pages, in any of the designs, in any iteration whose manufacture Nelson oversaw and encouraged, there are shining elements of lightness, elegance, sophistication —and a little bit of swagger. George Nelson felt confident in his ideas about design and didn’t mind letting the world know.

Read more about George Nelson in Introspective Magazine

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George Nelson for Herman Miller Sofa and Loveseat Alexander Girard

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson for Herman Miller Sofa and Loveseat ...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Sofas
Aluminum, Upholstery
George Nelson for Herman Miller sofa and loveseat upholstered in Alexander Girard black and white plaid fabric. Aluminum dowel legs with a single fold down paddle arm. The two upholster...
George Nelson Leather Accent or Desk Chair for Herman Miller

By George Nelson
George Nelson Leather Accent or Desk Chair for Her...
George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Modern Office Chairs and Desk Chairs
A classic and handsome modernist design. It has been lightly restored without taking away from its historical integrity. Made of solid walnut wood with elegant black leather. Great t...
George Nelson Sofa for Herman Miller, 1940's

By George Nelson
George Nelson Sofa for Herman Miller, 1940's
George Nelson
Vintage 1940s American American Modern Sofas
An early and elegant modernist design with organic lines.
George Nelson for Herman Miller Rosewood Thin Edge Chest Cabinet Server

By George Nelson
George Nelson for Herman Miller Rosewood Thin Edge...
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
George Nelson for Herman Miller thin edge chest cabinet.
George Nelson Playful Geometric Steelframe Nightstand, 1950s

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Playful Geometric Steelframe Nightst...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern End Tables
Aluminum, Wood, Steel
George Nelson (1908–1986) Streamlined and playful early steel-frame nightstand or end table by George Nelson for Herman Miller, in orange, brown, and white enameled steel with a lacq...
Mid-Century Modern Small Pendant "Bubble Lamp" by George Nelson

By George Nelson
Mid-Century Modern Small Pendant "Bubble Lamp" by ...
George Nelson
20th Century American Modern Chandeliers and Pendants
This is a Classic pendant "Bubble Lamp" lamp designed in the 1950s by George Nelson. The color is off-white.  
Irving Harper for George Nelson Wall Clock, 1959

By Howard Miller, Irving Harper, George Nelson
Irving Harper for George Nelson Wall Clock, 1959
Howard Miller, Irving Harper, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Metal, Plastic
Irving Harper for George Nelson associates wall clock, model #2271-B. Produced by Howard Miller in 1959. Quiet plug in model, with second hand. All original.
Pair of George Nelson for Herman Miller Nightstand...
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Furniture
Wood
Very cool, and rare, pair of George Nelson night stands in original condition. Single drawer with iconic Nelson designed pull. Wear consistent with age and daily use, please see photos....
Thin Edge Bed by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Thin Edge Bed by George Nelson for Herman Miller
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Furniture
Metal, Cane, Wood
For your consideration is an original George Nelson for Herman Miller Thin Edge full size bed. The cane is in very good condition with the white metal frame showing wear from normal use...
George Nelson Steel Frame Bench for Herman Miller, Circa 1960
George Nelson Steel Frame Bench for Herman Miller,...
George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
Fabric, Metal, Stainless Steel
George Nelson bench with stainless steel planter box, brand new tangerine linen upholstery. Gorgeous!
George Nelson Low Profile Credenza Sideboard for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Low Profile Credenza Sideboard for H...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Sideboards
With sought after nickel hair-pin legs and C curl pulls, this George Nelson cabinet has a rare low profile in that the height is 29 1/2". Produced by Herman Miller in the early 1950s, i...
George Nelson for Herman Miller Credenza or Lowboy Dresser

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson for Herman Miller Credenza or Lowboy...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Metal, Wood
George Nelson for Herman Miller credenza. All original.
Early Midcentury Modular Cabinet on Platform Bench by George Nelson

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Early Midcentury Modular Cabinet on Platform Bench...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Wood
Wonderful example of the 1952 Modular System by Herman Miller. These case pieces are meant to sit on the platform bench (also called a slat bench). The cabinet has the original finish w...
George Nelson Rosewood Thin Edge Open Storage Cabinet, USA 1950s

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Rosewood Thin Edge Open Storage Cabi...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Aluminum, Rosewood
Nice, simple open plan storage cabinet by George Nelson for Herman Miller. The case, raised on four turned aluminium legs, is veneered in rosewood with each side having bookmatched grai...
Midcentury Steel Frame Desk by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Midcentury Steel Frame Desk by George Nelson for H...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Desks
Steel, Wood
One of our favorites, the George Nelson designed steel frame series is both practical and beautiful. Originally available in many different color combinations the orange / green / black...
Executive Home Desk by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Executive Home Desk by George Nelson for Herman Mi...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1940s American Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Steel, Leather, Walnut
Walnut with original custom white leather writing surface and sliding floating doors, small drawers in maple. Storage and drop down typing table with original perforated aluminum file d...
George Nelson Slat Bench for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Slat Bench for Herman Miller
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Benches
George Nelson for Herman Miller slat bench form the 1950s. In original condition. Minor wear, gorgeous patina.
George Nelson Wood and Leather Office Desk for Herman Miller, USA, 1948
George Nelson Wood and Leather Office Desk for Her...
George Nelson
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Leather, Steel, Wood
From George Nelson's ground breaking 1948 group of designs for Herman Miller that put the company firmly in the ranks of post war modernism. Nelson's desk was decidedly futuristic, with...
George Nelson for Herman Miller Chest of Drawers in Walnut

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson for Herman Miller Chest of Drawers i...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Wood
A nice low key chest designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller. It features walnut legs and walnut pulls on walnut case. Manufacturer label.
Midcentury George Nelson Swag Leg Table for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Midcentury George Nelson Swag Leg Table for Herman...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cocktail Tables
Aluminum, Laminate, Wood
Elegant coffee table deigned by George Nelson for Herman Miller.
George Nelson Omni Wall Unit Shelving

By George Nelson
George Nelson Omni Wall Unit Shelving
George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Shelves and Wall Cabinets
Walnut
Two bay Omni wall unit in walnut by George Nelson. Brass color metal rails that support three cabinets and three shelves. All adjustable in height and placement. The large bottom cabine...
Rare George Nelson Floor Clock

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
Rare George Nelson Floor Clock
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Chrome
Rare George Nelson floor clock for Howard Miller. Chrome ball face on a tulip base. A truly stunning clock seldom seen.
Mid-Century George Nelson Thin Edge Side Table or Nightstand

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-Century George Nelson Thin Edge Side Table or ...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
Metal, Walnut
Mid-Century George Nelson thin edge side table or nightstand for Herman Miller. Wonderful example is original vintage condition. Retains label inside of drawer. Walnut.
George Nelson Rosewood Server

By George Nelson
George Nelson Rosewood Server
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Buffets
Rosewood
George Nelson rosewood server signed inside drawer, four drawers next to three doors, inside has pull-out shelf.
Large Credenza Cabinet by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Large Credenza Cabinet by George Nelson for Herman...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Walnut, Steel, Chrome
George Nelson Herman Miller, Executive Office Group (EOG) Series circa 1962 Lacquered walnut, steel and chrome. Measures: 80.75 wide x 18.5 deep x 43 inch tall Customized for a client,...
Small Four-Drawer Chest by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Small Four-Drawer Chest by George Nelson for Herma...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Versatile small cabinet with four drawers accented by the iconic "J" pulls. This chest is Prima Vera veneer but we chose to do a little darker finish order to camouflage some previous o...
George Nelson for Herman Miller Steel Case Nightstand in Walnut and Black
George Nelson for Herman Miller Steel Case Nightst...
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Bedroom Furniture
Steel, Laminate, Walnut
George Nelson for Herman Miller steel case nightstand in walnut panels and black steel frame. It retains its original foil Herman Miller tag. Laminate in great condition as is wood and ...
Long Credenza by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Long Credenza by George Nelson for Herman Miller
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
George Nelson for Herman Miller, circa 1952, USA Credenza Walnut, steel, lacquer 70 long, 18.5 deep and 25.5 inches tall. Professionally refinished with lacquer to the all-walnut...
Midcentury George Nelson Stereo Cabinet for Herman Miller Primavera

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Midcentury George Nelson Stereo Cabinet for Herman...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Credenzas
Mid-Century Modern cabinet console designed by George Nelson manufactured by Herman Miller features original turntable with amplifier facade. Looks intact, the equipment will need resto...
1950s Brown Wooden Credenza by George Nelson

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
1950s Brown Wooden Credenza by George Nelson
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Sideboards
Aluminum, Wood
Thin edge wooden credenza with four drawers and two doors opening to reveal adjustable shelves and open storage space. Aluminium tapering legs. Manufactured by Herman Miller.
George Nelson Planter and Lamp Table, Model 4634-L for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Planter and Lamp Table, Model 4634-L...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
A chairside table with lamp and planters by George Nelson for Herman Miller. The tabletop is wrapped in leather of a complimentary color to the walnut of the cabinet. The piece stands o...
George Nelson for Herman Miller Bookcase Cabinet

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson for Herman Miller Bookcase Cabinet
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Bookcases
Wood
Walnut case features original finish with lovely natural patina. Two adjustable shelves. Shallow 12" depth. Original label George Nelson for Herman Miller label.
George Nelson Cabinet for Herman Miller

By George Nelson
George Nelson Cabinet for Herman Miller
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Dressers
George Nelson cabinet for Herman Miller.
George Nelson and Daniel Lewis for Koch and Lowy Eyeshade Floor Lamp

By Koch & Lowy, George Nelson, Daniel Lewis
George Nelson and Daniel Lewis for Koch and Lowy E...
Koch & Lowy, George Nelson, Daniel Lewis
Vintage 1970s American Mid-Century Modern Floor Lamps
Acrylic, Aluminum, Steel
A desk Lamp with perforated, enameled, aluminium shade in black with white translucent end panels. The iron base is finished in black and fit with a chrome stem. Tilt's vertically and h...
Original George Nelson Wall Lamp for Howard Miller

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
Original George Nelson Wall Lamp for Howard Miller...
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Wall Lights and Sconces
Original production Nelson Bubble wall lamp, adjustable in height. Walnut block attachment to wall also allows the lamp to swing in and out. Has original Howard Miller label. Measureme...
Bachelor's Chest by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By George Nelson
Bachelor's Chest by George Nelson for Herman Mille...
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Commodes and Chests of Drawers
Bachelor's chest by George Nelson for Herman Miller.
Mid-Century Modern Clock in the Style of George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-Century Modern Clock in the Style of George Ne...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Oak
Rare unit featuring a Nelson style ball clock, storage cubby, and open rack plank on side. The artistic statement of this George Nelson style grandfather clock makes an impressive addit...
Small Steelframe Stereo Cabinet Side Table by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Small Steelframe Stereo Cabinet Side Table by Geor...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
Steel, Walnut
This walnut and steel cabinet designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller is constructed of a steel frame and walnut wood with a drawer for storage and a drop-down shelf.
Dresser and Cabinet in Primavera Mahogany by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Dresser and Cabinet in Primavera Mahogany by Georg...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
20th Century American American Modern Dressers
Mahogany
This five-drawer dresser stands next to a single cabinet with a shelf and hanging retractable rod for plenty of storage. Made for the bedroom in an exquisite primavera wood also known a...
George Nelson Model 5215 Rosewood Jewelry Chest with Miniature Legs, USA, 1955
George Nelson Model 5215 Rosewood Jewelry Chest wi...
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Teak, Rosewood, Porcelain, Brass
George Nelson's miniature jewelry chests have always been a desired item. This particular model is in wonderful condition with the added appeal of having the miniature legs that are rar...
George Nelson for Herman Miller White Laminate X Legs Dining Table

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson for Herman Miller White Laminate X L...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Tables
Iron, Laminate
Mid-Century Modern, long, dining or work table designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller features a white laminate top with painted black iron "X" legs.
George Nelson Midcentury Storage Wall Unit Bookcase and Desk for Omni

By George Nelson
George Nelson Midcentury Storage Wall Unit Bookcas...
George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Bookcases
Aluminum, Walnut
George Nelson designed 1950s wall and desk unit for Omni. Three sections with writing desk and drawers, storage cube, book shelves and lights. Sold with three lights, two of the lights ...
Stereo Cabinet by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Stereo Cabinet by George Nelson for Herman Miller
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Oak
Stereo cabinet by George Nelson for Herman Miller. Original radio and record player intact. Two pieces.
Scarce Black Leather Chrome Base George Nelson Herman Miller Catenary Chairs

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Scarce Black Leather Chrome Base George Nelson Her...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Lounge Chairs
Leather, Chrome
Pair of limited production Catenary chairs. Designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller about 1962 and produced for only two or three years. George Nelson is said to have designed the c...
Executive L-Shaped Desk Unit by George Nelson for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Executive L-Shaped Desk Unit by George Nelson for ...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century North American Mid-Century Modern Desks and Writing Tables...
Walnut
George Nelson for Herman Miller L-shaped executive desk unit. Rattan privacy panel.
Herman Miller Action Office Desk and Wall Unit

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Herman Miller Action Office Desk and Wall Unit
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Desks
Action office desk and wall unit. Rare intact entire set with the original fabric doors on the wall unit. Designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller. USA, circa 1960s. Wood, m...
George Nelson Pair of Side Tables by Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Pair of Side Tables by Herman Miller...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Side Tables
Steel, Walnut
We absolutely love this design by the Nelson office, we have one with a teak top in our personal collection. It's light– both visually an in actual weight, it's elegant, versatile, and ...
George Nelson for Herman Miller Thin Edge Dresser & Nightstands Suite in Walnut
George Nelson for Herman Miller Thin Edge Dresser ...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Aluminum, Walnut
A striking suite from the "Thin Edge" series designed by George Nelson for Herman Miller having walnut cases, original aluminium loop pulls throughout and original spun aluminium feet s...
Midcentury George Nelson Thin Edge Desk in Rosewood for Herman Miller

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
Midcentury George Nelson Thin Edge Desk in Rosewoo...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Desks
Aluminum, Enamel, Porcelain, Wood, Rosewood
Stunning midcentury George Nelson thin edge desk in rosewood for Herman Miller. This exceptionally rare desk is beautifully constructed featuring a finished back allowing placement in a...
Pair of Single Drawer End Tables by George Nelson ...
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American End Tables
Walnut, Steel
A modernist pair of end tables each comprising a walnut top with a single drawer and a lower shelf all within a brushed steel frame. Retains manufacturer's tag. By George Nelson for Her...
George Nelson for Herman Miller Thin Edge Chest Cabinet

By Herman Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson for Herman Miller Thin Edge Chest Ca...
Herman Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Aluminum, Walnut
Superb Mid-Century American Modern dresser cabinet model 5245 from George Nelson's Thin Edge series that was first produced by Herman Miller in 1952. The chest features five drawers of ...
George Nelson & Irving Harper for Howard Miller Table Desk Clock, 1951, Works

By Howard Miller, Irving Harper, George Nelson
George Nelson & Irving Harper for Howard Miller Ta...
Howard Miller, Irving Harper, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Metal, Wood, Paint
Rare working and nice example of an original George Nelson desk clock, model 4762, designed in 1951. I've watched it keep time for days and it's spot-on. Original motor and cord. Replac...
Mid-Century Modern Bleached Mahogany Three-Drawer Flip Desk by George Nelson
Mid-Century Modern Bleached Mahogany Three-Drawer ...
George Nelson
20th Century American Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Mahogany
This beautiful blonde bleached mahogany desk with a tubular metal frame is equipped with a flip down extension. Three left hand drawers with the iconic cupcake handles makes the George ...
Pair of George Nelson Dressers

By George Nelson
Pair of George Nelson Dressers
George Nelson
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Dressers
Pair of George Nelson dressers for Herman Miller. Walnut. Recessed black legs.
George Nelson for Herman Miller Rosewood Thin Edge Chest Cabinet Server
George Nelson for Herman Miller Rosewood Thin Edge...
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Aluminum, Porcelain, Rosewood
Stunning rosewood George Nelson vintage thin edge two door chest for Herman Miller in excellent condition.
Sexy Midcentury Action Desk Design by George Nelson

By George Nelson
Sexy Midcentury Action Desk Design by George Nelso...
George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Desks and Writing Tables
Metal, Wood
A sexy midcentury action desk design by George Nelson.    
Rare Glaze Meridian Clock by Bitossi & George Nelson for Howard Miller

By Bitossi, Howard Miller, George Nelson
Rare Glaze Meridian Clock by Bitossi & George Nels...
Bitossi, Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s Italian Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Metal, Ceramic
Rare glaze Bitossi & George Nelson wall clock for the Howard Miller clock company. This example is pristine and has it's original electric mechanism and works.
George Nelson Rosewood Thin Edge Cabinet

By George Nelson
George Nelson Rosewood Thin Edge Cabinet
George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Cabinets
Aluminum, Rosewood
George Nelson rosewood thin edge cabinet for Herman Miller. Four drawers and two doors. Cast aluminium legs.