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 Model 4766 Brass Clock for Howard Miller

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Model 4766 Brass Clock for Howard Mi...
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Brass, Plexiglass
A round brass clock on a brass pedestal foot with a plexiglass bubble case, designed by George Nelson for Howard Miller. The clock has black hour and minute hands, a red second hand, an...
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...
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.
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 Modern George Nelson Table or Desk Clock for Howard Miller Clock Co

By Howard Miller, George Nelson, George Nelson & Associates
Mid-Century Modern George Nelson Table or Desk Clo...
Howard Miller, George Nelson, George Nelson & Associates
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Wood
An uncommonly seen table clock designed by George Nelson for Howard Miller clock company. The clock is constructed of solid painted wood with nailhead markers. In excellent condition wi...
Bitossi & George Nelson "Meridian" Ceramic Clock for Howard Miller & Raymor

By Bitossi, Howard Miller, George Nelson
Bitossi & George Nelson "Meridian" Ceramic Clock f...
Bitossi, Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s Italian Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Ceramic
Mid Century modern ceramic clock designed by Bitossi & George Nelson for Howard Miller & Raymor circa 1950’s. This iconic collaboration is part of the “Meridian” collection and features...
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.
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...
George Nelson Spike Sunburst Clock for Howard Miller, circa 1960, Signed

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Spike Sunburst Clock for Howard Mill...
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Metal
Wonderful spike Starburst clock by George Nelson for Howard Miller. Featuring black sunbeams with a brass colored clock face. The Howard Miller manufacturing label can be found on the b...
Arthur Umanoff Desk Clock, George Nelson & Associates, 1950s

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
Arthur Umanoff Desk Clock, George Nelson & Associa...
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Rosewood, Steel
George Nelson & Associates table clock. Howard Miller Clock Company, USA. Rosewood, steel. Measures: 4.25 W x 3 D x 5.5 H inches. Signed with decal manufacturer's label to r...
George Nelson Orange Ball Clock for Howard Miller, circa 1950

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Orange Ball Clock for Howard Miller,...
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1940s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Brass
Classic vintage ball clock designed by George Nelson and Irving Harper for Howard Miller. The Ball Clock, first produced in 1949, is a fun and eye-catching wall adornment which will add...
George Nelson Wall Clock

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Wall Clock
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Clocks
Metal, Wood
George Nelson wall clock for Howard Miller Clock Company of Zeeland, Michigan. Plug powered. Label intact.
Azure Ceramic 'Meridian' Clock for Raymor

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
Azure Ceramic 'Meridian' Clock for Raymor
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s Italian Clocks
A ceramic clock with a Bitossi Rimini Blue style design of impressed geometric forms and glazed in azure and light green. Ceramic body made in Italy, designed by George Nelson, clock co...
George Nelson Prototype Domino Clock

By George Nelson
George Nelson Prototype Domino Clock
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Nelson office, designed by Irving Harper for Howard Miller. This is the only clock and was never produced. Purchased from Howard Miller Executive.  
Howard Miller Arthur Umanoff Wall Clock in Fashionable Sapphire

By Arthur Umanoff, George Nelson
Howard Miller Arthur Umanoff Wall Clock in Fashion...
Arthur Umanoff, George Nelson
Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Great wall clock design with a fine wood casing and an original backboard in what is right now a trending color of sapphire. Uncertain to whether Arthur Umanoff or George Nelson Designe...
George Nelson Meridian Wall Clock Rimini Blue Face by Aldo Londi for Bitossi

By Bitossi, Aldo Londi, George Nelson
George Nelson Meridian Wall Clock Rimini Blue Face...
Bitossi, Aldo Londi, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Ceramic
“Meridian” clock designed by George Nelson for the Howard Miller Clock Company. Face is made of “Rimini Blue” Italian ceramic designed by Aldo Londi for Bitossi, battery operated....
Rare George Nelson Howard Miller Burl and Rosewood Grandfather Clock

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
Rare George Nelson Howard Miller Burl and Rosewood...
Howard Miller, George Nelson
20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Metal, Glass, Rosewood, Burl
George Nelson grandfather clock with weight driven movement in a modern burl wood and rosewood cabinet made by Howard Miller. Unusual Pentagon shape. Features lovely soft Westminster ch...
George Nelson Clock for Howard Miller

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Clock for Howard Miller
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Leather, Wood
George Nelson wall clock of Howard Miller. Model No. 2504. This clock has a wooden back with leather face and aluminium numbers.
George Nelson Mini Grandfather Clock for Howard Miller

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson Mini Grandfather Clock for Howard Mi...
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Clocks
Beautiful half-height tabletop grandfather clock in rosewood. Designed by George Nelson for Howard Miller clock company. Wind-up mechanism. Weights and pendulum are purely decorative.
George Nelson for Howard Miller Grandfather Clock, circa 1950

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
George Nelson for Howard Miller Grandfather Clock,...
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Lucite, Wood
A Mid-Century Grandfather clock, designed by George Nelson for Howard Miller, Model No. 622. A wooden frame with rounded corners borders the smoked Lucite panes, displaying the inner wo...
George Nelson Clock for Howard Miller

By George Nelson
George Nelson Clock for Howard Miller
George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Brass, Wood
Beautiful brass and wood clock designed by George Nelson for the Howard Miller clock company.
Modernist Wall Clock by George Nelson

By Howard Miller, George Nelson
Modernist Wall Clock by George Nelson
Howard Miller, George Nelson
Vintage 1950s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Steel, Wood
A modernist wall clock having a figured birch body with Roman numerals and a black center with graphically contrasting white and red hands.
George Nelson Howard Miller Walnut Case Wall Clock

By George Nelson
On Hold
George Nelson Howard Miller Walnut Case Wall Clock...
George Nelson
Vintage 1960s American Mid-Century Modern Clocks
Acrylic, Chrome, Walnut
George Nelson Howard Miller walnut case wall clock . Key wind up keeps excellent time . Does not chime .
George Nelson Eye Clock

By George Nelson
George Nelson Eye Clock
George Nelson
20th Century American Clocks
George Nelson "Eye" Clock model # 2238,Herman Miller Original finish