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Walter Von Nessen

German, 1889-1943

Art Deco industrial designer Walter von Nessen is best known for his glamorous Machine Age lighting designs and for his invention of the swing-arm lamp. Von Nessen was born in Germany, where he studied under Bruno Paul at Berlin’s Kunstgewerbeschule. After World War I, he worked for the architect Peter Behrens, in Berlin. He left in 1919 for Stockholm, where he designed furniture until emigrating with his wife, Margaretta, to the United States in 1923. In 1927, the couple opened Nessen Studios in Manhattan, designing and selling sleek, modern architectural lighting.

Art Deco was both novel and exciting in the late 1920s — as, indeed, was electricity itself — and Nessen Studios was at the forefront of the movement. Electric lighting designers at the time had no direct models to follow. The shapes and silhouettes of gas lamps, lanterns and chandeliers had been influenced by those of the kerosene-, oil- and candle-lit fixtures that preceded them, which in turn were informed by the fuels they used. Electric lighting required designs that accommodated essentials of the new technology, like cords and sockets. Von Nessen and his contemporaries thus had to create fixtures that addressed these challenges and looked modern without appearing overly mechanical.

Along with industrial-design visionaries of the period like Raymond Loewy, Gilbert Rohde and Donald Deskey, von Nessen crafted a style that was emblematic of the Machine Age. He produced lamps and home accessories from spun aluminum, with smooth surfaces that evoked the polished gleam of streamlined automobiles and airplanes. And he experimented with other popular materials of the era, such as Bakelite, chrome and fiberglass. His ingenious design for the now-ubiquitous swing-arm lamp earned him a reputation as an innovator.

Von Nessen’s work is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian National Design Museum, among other institutions. Designed to complement the luxurious interiors of the 1920s and ‘30s, still look fresh nearly a century later.

Average Sold Price
$1,017
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Related Creators
Adjustable Brass Floor Lamp by Nessen Studios
By Nessen Studio, Walter Von Nessen
Located in Providence, RI
Adjustable brass floor lamp by Nessen Studios of New York, circa 1939. Adjusts from floor lamp height (65"), to reading lamp height (55"). Lamp has been completely re-wired for safet...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Walter Von Nessen

Materials

Brass

Chase Walter Von Nessen Horse Bookends Statue
By Walter Von Nessen
Located in Oakland, CA
Extremely rare set of chase Equestrian bookends sculpture designed by Walter Von Nessen in 1932. Industrial Design incorporated with the latest materials and machine age approach. Th...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Walter Von Nessen

Materials

Brass

American Art Deco Chase Von Nessen Continental Coffee Making Service with Tray
By Chase Brass and Copper Company, Walter Von Nessen
Located in Port Hope, ON
Walter Von Nessen's iconic design for the Chase Brass and Copper Company for their "Continental Coffee Making Service". This set combines the three piece service with its polished ch...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Walter Von Nessen

Materials

Chrome

1950s Floor Lamp by Walter Von Nessen for Nessen Studio
By Walter Von Nessen, Nessen Studio
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Vintage early 1950s floor lamp with adjustable swing arm, designed by Walter Von Nessen for Nessen Studio. Newly rewired and fitted with a new shade that matched the original. Overal...
Category

1950s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Walter Von Nessen

Materials

Steel

Machine Age Art Deco Mixed Metal Lighting Designs by Walter Von Nessen
By Walter Von Nessen, Miller Lamp Company, Chase Brass and Copper Company
Located in Dallas, TX
Machine Age Art Deco Mixed Metal Lighting Designs by Walter Von Nessen Original pair Chase wall-hanging candle brackets and rare Miller Lamp Co. articulating desk lamp with removab...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Walter Von Nessen

Materials

Copper, Enamel, Steel, Aluminum, Brass

Pair of Brushed Stainless Steel Wall Scones by Walter Von Nessen
By Nessen Studio, Walter Von Nessen
Located in Palm Springs, CA
1970’s pair of brushed stainless steel wall sconces design by Walter Von Nessen for Nessen Studio. The stainless steel is n original condition, so it shows minor wear. They have a...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Walter Von Nessen

Materials

Stainless Steel

Pair of Rectangular White Marble Lamps Designed by Nessen Lamps
By Walter Von Nessen, Nessen Studio
Located in Houston, TX
Beautiful pair of solid white marble rectangular lamps designed in the 1970s by the Nessen Lamp Company. The white and black veined marble block table lamps are very heavy and in g...
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Walter Von Nessen

Materials

Marble, Metal

Art Deco Modernistic Table Lamp by Leroy C. Doane for Miller
By Walter Von Nessen
Located in Atlanta, GA
A rare table lamp designed by Leroy C. Doane for Miller Lamp Company, USA. Originally desinged in 1928 and with US Patent No. 1,818,120 - Filed July 7, 1928, the lamp later went thro...
Category

1930s American Art Deco Vintage Walter Von Nessen

Materials

Enamel, Steel

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Walter Von Nessen Sellers

Klassik Design
4.8 / 5
Art Deco Collection
5 / 5
Century Design Ltd.
5 / 5
Harveys on Beverly
4.6 / 5
High Style Deco
5 / 5

Creators Similar to Walter Von Nessen

Walter Von Nessen furniture for sale on 1stDibs

Walter Von Nessen furniture is available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive objects are frequently made of metal and designed with extraordinary care. In our Walter Von Nessen collection, there are many options to choose from, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. In-stock we have 60 vintage editions of these items, while there is also 0 modern edition to choose from. Many original furniture by Walter Von Nessen was created in the Art Deco style in the United States during the 20th century. Many customers also consider furniture by Russel Wright, Frederick Cooper and Nessen Studio if you’re looking for additional options. Prices for Walter Von Nessen furniture can vary depending on size, time period and other attributes. 1stDibs's price starts at $175 and tops out at US$9,000, while pieces like these can sell for US$1,448 on average.

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