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Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

American, 1858-1942

Gustav Stickley was one of the principal figures in the American Arts and Crafts movement and the creator of the Craftsman style. As a furniture designer and publisher of the magazine The Craftsman, he adopted many of the ideals of the British design reform movement and popularized both its philosophy and its aesthetics in the United States.

Born in Wisconsin, Stickley moved with his family to Pennsylvania when he was a teenager and began working in his uncle’s chair factory in the town of Brandt. There, he learned the techniques of late-19th-century furniture making at a time when the vogue was for Victorian revival furniture, which was characterized by extensive ornamentation.

In 1883, Stickley established a furniture company called Stickley Brothers with two of his brothers, Albert and Charles (Gustav’s other siblings, Leopold and John George, would later form L & J.G. Stickley Inc.). When Stickley Brothers foundered, he partnered five years later with salesman Elgin Simonds to form a new firm, Stickley & Simonds, which produced traditional furniture that appealed to the burgeoning American middle class. The success of this venture enabled Stickley to travel to Europe, where he discovered the writings of John Ruskin and William Morris, the two preeminent thinkers of the British Arts and Crafts movement. Stickley also traveled to France, where the Art Nouveau movement impressed him with its imaginative designs and skilled craftsmanship.

Stickley parted ways with Simonds at the turn of the 20th century and decided to focus his creative energies on producing furniture in what became known as the Craftsman style, incorporating some of the elements of the designs and movements he had encountered in Europe.

The pieces Stickley created, which he stamped with the logo of a joiner’s compass, were rectilinear, largely free of ornament, made of oak, and built in such a way that the nature of their construction was plainly visible — all reflections of the tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement. While some people referred to Stickley’s furniture as Mission furniture — a term that references the furnishings of the Spanish missions in California — Gustav commonly called his work “Craftsman” owing to the inspiration he found in the British Arts and Crafts movement.

Stickley benches and rocking chairs were popular, and his leather-upholstered armchairs combine practicality, comfort and an understated silhouette. He also made side tables — an unusual example designed during the early 20th century was adorned with an octagonal Grueby Pottery tile in a cool shade of green, which made it an ideal piece for an art pottery collector.

In 1901, Stickley launched The Craftsman magazine, which contained articles on all manner of domestic topics, from gardening and cooking to art and design, as well as poetry and fiction. In addition to popularizing Stickely’s own designs, the magazine acquainted Americans with the Arts and Crafts style in all its forms through its graphic design and the bungalows, art pottery, and hammered-copper lamps pictured in its pages. It also encouraged readers to practice craft themselves, promoting an early form of the do-it-yourself ethos. 

In 1904, Stickley founded the Craftsman Home Builders' Club, which allowed subscribers to his magazine to order architectural plans for the Arts and Crafts–style structures that were featured in its pages; eventually, this became one of its most popular features.

An ill-timed attempt to set up a New York showroom led to Stickley’s filing for bankruptcy in 1915. The outbreak of World War I, waning interest in the Arts and Crafts style, and increased competition all conspired to thwart Stickley's efforts. The Craftsman ceased publication a year later. When he died, in 1942, Arts and Crafts had been replaced by modernism as the favored aesthetic. It enjoyed a resurgence, however, in the 1970s, and Stickley is now regarded as one of the most important American designers in the first half of the 20th century.

Find antique Gustav Stickley tables, seating and other furniture on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Gustav Stickley
Gustav Stickley Mission Oak Arts & Crafts Sewing Rocking Chair, Circa 1900
By Gustav Stickley
Located in South Bend, IN
A gorgeous Mission oak Arts & Crafts sewing rocker By Gustav Stickley USA, Circa 1900 Solid quartersawn oak, with black leather seat. Measures: 18"W x 29"D x 33.5"H. Seat height:...
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Early 20th Century American Arts and Crafts Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

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Gustav Stickley Mission Oak Arts & Crafts Sewing Rocking Chair, Circa 1900
By Gustav Stickley
Located in South Bend, IN
A gorgeous Mission oak Arts & Crafts sewing rocker By Gustav Stickley USA, Circa 1900 Solid quarter sawn oak, with upholstered seat. Measures: 17"W x 24.25"D x 34"H. Seat height:...
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Early 20th Century American Arts and Crafts Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

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Gustav Stickley Mission Oak Arts & Crafts Sewing Rocking Chair, Circa 1900
By Gustav Stickley
Located in South Bend, IN
A gorgeous Mission oak Arts & Crafts sewing rocker By Gustav Stickley USA, Circa 1900 Solid quarter sawn oak, with tan leather seat. Measures: 17.25"W x 24.75"D x 31.25"H. Seat h...
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Early 20th Century American Arts and Crafts Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

Materials

Leather, Oak

Gustav Stickley Antique Mission Oak Arts & Crafts Sewing Rocking Chair
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A gorgeous antique Mission or Arts & Crafts sewing rocker By Gustav Stickley (model #2627) USA, Circa 1900 Solid quarter sawn oak, with brown leather seat. Measures: 18.25"W x 24...
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Early 20th Century American Arts and Crafts Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

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Signed Gustav Stickley Antique Mission Oak Arts & Crafts Sewing Rocking Chair
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Located in South Bend, IN
A gorgeous antique Mission or Arts & Crafts sewing or nursing rocker By Gustav Stickley USA, Circa 1900 Solid quarter sawn oak, with brown leather se...
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Early 20th Century American Arts and Crafts Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

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Arts & Crafts Fumed Oak Rocking Chair by Gustave Stickley, no. 311 1/2
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MISSION EBONIZED OAK ROCKING CHAIR NO. 311 1/2 Gustave Stickley ca. 1904-7, red ink maker's mark to the reverse Item # 309VAX24P Described in their 1904 catalogue as being "Craftsma...
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Early 20th Century American Arts and Crafts Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

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Faux Leather, Oak

Gustav Stickley Arts & Crafts Oak and Leather Rocking Chair, Fully Restored
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A gorgeous Mission oak Arts & Crafts rocking chair By Gustav Stickley USA, Circa 1900 Solid quarter sawn oak, with brass studded leather seat and back. Measures: 25.5"W x 28"D x ...
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Early 20th Century American Arts and Crafts Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

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Arts & Crafts Mission Rocker by Gustav Stickley with New Leather Seat
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1910s American Arts and Crafts Vintage Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

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1900 Gustav Stickely Early Arts & Crafts Mission Oak Youth Rocking Chair
By Gustav Stickley
Located in Monrovia, CA
GUSTAV STICKLEY Early American Craftsman Mission Quarter Sawn Oak Youth Rocker 1900s. Early American Antique Piece Of Furniture and History. This Early Antique Craftsman Mission Quarter Sawn Oak Rocker Is Also Known As A Sewing Rocker. This Early American Arts and Crafts Rocker...
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Late 19th Century American American Craftsman Antique Gustav Stickley Rocking Chairs

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Gustav Stickley rocking chairs for sale on 1stDibs.

Gustav Stickley rocking chairs are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. Many of the original rocking chairs by Gustav Stickley were created in the Arts and Crafts style in united states during the early 20th century. Prices for Gustav Stickley rocking chairs can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $1,295 and can go as high as $2,500, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $1,685.

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