Skip to main content

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Rohde boldly informed De Pree that the brand’s furniture had become outdated, which was part of the reason the company was in financial jeopardy.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.

Average Sold Price
$2,989
Styles
Materials
Gilbert Rohde for Troy Sunshade 3 Position Lounge Chair and Ottoman
By Troy Sunshade Company, Gilbert Rohde
Located in Philadelphia, PA
Gilbert Rohde for Troy Sunshade Chrome and Leather 3 Position Lounge Chair. Rohde did some of his most amazing designs for Troy Sunshade. Designed in 1934 this early example, later m...
Category

1930s American Machine Age Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Chrome

Rare Gilbert Rhode 1930s Modernist Brass and Glass Table Lamp
By Troy Sunshade Company, Gilbert Rohde
Located in Buffalo, NY
Rare Gilbert Rhode 1930s modernist Art Deco brass and glass table lamp, amazing design, retains (seldom seen) original lamp shade.
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Brass

Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller Stacking Tables in Burl Acacia
By Gilbert Rohde
Located in Bernville, PA
Professionally restored Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller stacking tables in Burl Acacia. Rare set of 3 stacking tables from the Paldao Group for Herman Miller designed by Gilbert Rohd...
Category

20th Century American Art Deco Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Paldao

Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller Art Deco Mahogany Nightstands, Newly Refinished
By Gilbert Rohde, Herman Miller
Located in South Bend, IN
A gorgeous pair of Art Deco or Mid-Century Modern mahogany nightstands By Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller USA, 1930s Measures: 18"W x 12"D x 25.5"H. Newly refinished. Ver...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Mahogany

Art Deco Étagère Server Room Divider by Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller
By Gilbert Rohde, Herman Miller
Located in Port Jervis, NY
Fabulous three tiered shelf unit with endless possibilities. Created by Gilbert Rohde for Herman Miller, C1930. Great shelf unit. Walnut with aluminum supports. Finished on all sides...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Aluminum

Gilbert Rohde for Troy Cantilever Chair
By Gilbert Rohde, Troy Sunshade Company
Located in Garnerville, NY
Gilbert Rohde fro Troy Sunshade Model #180 upholstered cantilever chair. Circa 1939. New cushion in chartreuse fabric. Good restored condition. Not the original chrome electroplating...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Steel, Chrome

  • Gilbert Rohde for Troy Cantilever Chair
  • Gilbert Rohde for Troy Cantilever Chair
  • Gilbert Rohde for Troy Cantilever Chair
  • Gilbert Rohde for Troy Cantilever Chair
H 39.5 in. W 26.5 in. D 34 in.
Gilbert Rohde Paldao Secretary Display Case for Herman Miller
By Gilbert Rohde, Herman Miller
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Bookcase with drop-front secretary desk and storage drawers in paldao wood. Glass dividers separate storage compartments, and cork-lined back. Retains Herman Miller tag. Great origin...
Category

1940s American Art Deco Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Paldao

Gilbert Rohde for Heywood Wakefield Art Deco Maple Dining Table, 1930s
By Gilbert Rohde, Heywood-Wakefield Co.
Located in South Bend, IN
A rare Art Deco or mid-century modern solid maple extension dining table By Gilbert Rohde for Heywood Wakefield USA, 1930s Measures: 60"W x 42"D x 29"H. Extends to 72"W with one 1...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Gilbert Rohde

Materials

Maple

Browse all Furniture from Gilbert Rohde
Shop Now

Gilbert Rohde Sellers

Gilbert Rohde furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Gilbert Rohde furniture are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are often made of wood and designed with extraordinary care. There are many options in our Gilbert Rohde collection of furniture, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In-stock of these items we have 140 vintage editions, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many original furniture by Gilbert Rohde was created in North America during the 20th century in Art Deco style. If you are looking for additional options, many customers also consider furniture by Ralph Widdicomb, David Robertson Smith and Norman Bel Geddes. The prices for Gilbert Rohde furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. The price for these items starts at $750 and tops out at $55,500, while pieces like these can sell for $4,500 on average..

Recently Viewed

View More