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Gilbert Rohde

American, 1894-1944

Pioneering self-taught industrial designer, writer and teacher Gilbert Rohde helped define the earliest phase of modernism in the United States. He is one of the most influential figures of 20th-century design and is credited with helping legendary mid-century modern furniture manufacturer Herman Miller avert financial disaster during the Great Depression.

Born in New York City, Rohde studied painting at the Art Students League after high school. He found lucrative employment, first as a political cartoonist and then as a catalog illustrator for American department stores. He was particularly enthralled with drawing furnished interiors.

Rohde began to design furniture in his spare time. He traveled to the Bauhaus school in Germany and the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in Paris, and drew on the Art Deco movement and the work of designers such as Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann in his early pieces. Rohde opened his own studio in 1929 and secured private and commercial commissions. His clients would come to include formidable furniture makers Heywood-Wakefield and Troy Sunshade, and his innovative bentwood furnishings for them were practical and intended for the modern consumer.

In 1930, Rohde met Herman Miller founder D.J. De Pree in the company’s Michigan showroom during a business trip. By then, Rohde had a long list of prominent clients and his furniture had been exhibited in museums and galleries. Herman Miller was weathering a devastating slowdown in business, and the American furniture industry had generally been hit hard by the Great Depression.

Rohde boldly informed De Pree that the brand’s furniture had become outdated, which was part of the reason the company was in financial jeopardy. Homes had become smaller and could no longer accommodate the large Gothic– and Victorian–style furnishings and traditional reproductions of period bedroom suites that Herman Miller was offering at the time, Rohde explained.

Rohde secured a contract to design for the Michigan manufacturer. He championed the use of exotic woods and tubular steel, and created streamlined, unadorned bedroom furniture for Herman Miller — collections that included convenient vanities, which were unconventional pieces for De Pree’s company back then.

In 1933, Rohde oversaw the design of two bedrooms featuring sleek Herman Miller furniture — including innovative storage pieces he designed — as part of an International–style exhibit at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. The installation garnered acclaim for De Pree’s brand all over the world and afforded Rohde the opportunity to execute on his visionary ideas in front of a global audience. Rohde later designed lighting, seating and more for Herman Miller and was extensively involved in the company's marketing strategy and other areas of the business.

In 1942, Herman Miller, anticipating a postwar economic boom, began to produce office furniture for the first time, but its legacy is in the home. Working with legendary designers such as Ray and Charles Eames, Isamu Noguchi and Alexander Girard, the manufacturer fostered some of the boldest expressions of what we now call mid-century modern style.

Find vintage Gilbert Rohde coffee tables, lounge chairs, table lamps and other items on 1stDibs.

Gilbert Rohde Slipper Tub Lounge Chair, 1940's
By Gilbert Rohde
Located in Culver City, CA
Step into the world of mid-century magic with this fabulous slipper chair designed by the legendary Gilbert Rohde. With its round body and a rounded, curved, button-tufted back, this...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Cotton, Maple

Gilbert Rohde Slipper Tub Lounge Chair, 1940's
Gilbert Rohde Slipper Tub Lounge Chair, 1940's
H 29.25 in W 34.5 in D 27.25 in
Art Deco Two-Tone Geometric Side Table by Gilbert Rohde for Brown Saltman
By Gilbert Rohde, Brown Saltman
Located in Van Nuys, CA
Two-tone Gilbert Rohde Side table for Brown Saltman 1940s made of Pearwood. Fantastic Side Profile with a great geometric round Cantaleviered Stacking table, and curio display for an...
Category

1940s American Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Wood

American Art Deco Tubular chrome Chair Designed by Gilbert Rohde
By Gilbert Rohde
Located in San Diego, CA
Modernist Chrome Cantilever Chair by Etowah Mfg, Bauhaus / Art Deco, Super stylized Amazing original condition. Extremely comfortable. Superior quality and construction.Designed by G...
Category

20th Century American Art Deco Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Chrome

Art Deco Machine Age Torchiere Floor Lamp by Rohde for Mutual Sunset Lamp Co.
By Gilbert Rohde, Mutual Sunset Lamp Co.
Located in New York, NY
Rare Gilbert Rohde designed torchiere floor lamp, made by the Mutual Sunset Lamp Co. c 1934. This lamp is in the harder to find brown and chrome color way, however this example show...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Steel, Chrome

Pr Art Deco Art Moderne Dressers by Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller c 1930's
By Gilbert Rohde, Herman Miller
Located in New York, NY
Chic pair of streamline Art Moderne dressers designed by Gilbert Rohde, for Herman Miller c 1936. The dressers feature opposing right and left c...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Birdseye Maple, Walnut

Art Deco Art Moderne Streamline Gilbert Rohde Herman Miller Vanity c 1930's
By Gilbert Rohde, Herman Miller
Located in New York, NY
Iconic Art Deco, Art Moderne vanity designed by Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller, circa 1936. The vanity features a bank of three drawers, which supports a floating glass top surface,...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Glass, Birdseye Maple, Walnut

Art Deco Palladio Fall Front Desk by Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller c. 1940’s
By Gilbert Rohde, Herman Miller
Located in New York, NY
Elegant and sophisticated drop front desk designed by Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller as part of the much sought after Palladio series, circa 1940’s. The desk features a burl veneer ...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Art Deco Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Wood, Burl

Art Deco Palladio Glass Front Storage Cabinet Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller
By Gilbert Rohde, Herman Miller
Located in New York, NY
Voguish, chic and sophisticated storage cabinet designed by Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller as part of the sought after Palladio series, c. 1940’s. The piece features a walnut case, with burl veneer picture frame molding that surrounds the gold and black marbleized mirrored...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Art Deco Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Walnut, Burl

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Gilbert Rohde furniture for sale on 1stDibs.

Gilbert Rohde furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Gilbert Rohde furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original furniture by Gilbert Rohde were created in the Art Deco style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Norman Bel Geddes, Sally Sirkin Lewis, and Leo Jiranek. Prices for Gilbert Rohde furniture can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $10 and can go as high as $55,500, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $5,200.

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