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Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

MID-CENTURY MODERN STYLE

Organically shaped, clean-lined and elegantly simple are three terms that well describe vintage mid-century modern American furniture. The style, which emerged primarily in the years following World War II, is characterized by pieces that were conceived and made in an energetic, optimistic spirit by creators who believed that good design was an essential part of good living.

Postwar American architects and designers were animated by new ideas and new technology. The lean, functionalist “International Style” architecture of Le Corbusier and Bauhaus eminences such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius had been promoted in the United States during the ’30s by Philip Johnson and others. New building techniques, such as “post-and-beam” construction, allowed the International-style schemes to be realized on a small scale, in open-plan houses with long walls of glass.

Materials developed for wartime use became available for domestic goods and were incorporated into mid-century modern furniture designs. Charles and Ray Eames and Eero Saarinen, who had experimented extensively with molded plywood, eagerly embraced fiberglass for, respectively, pieces such as the La Chaise and the Womb chair. George Nelson and his design team created Bubble lamp shades using a new translucent polymer skin. Harry Bertoia and Isamu Noguchi devised chairs and tables built of wire mesh and wire struts. Materials were re-purposed: the Danish-born designer Jens Risom created a line of chairs that used surplus parachute straps for webbed seats and backrests. The Risom lounge chair was among the first pieces of furniture commissioned and produced by legendary manufacturer Knoll, a chief influence in the rise of modern design in the United States thanks to the work of Florence Knoll, the pioneering architect and designer who made the firm a leader in its field.

As the demand for casual, uncluttered furnishings grew, more mid-century designers caught the spirit.

Classically-oriented creators such as Edward Wormley, house designer for Dunbar Inc., offered such pieces as the sinuous Listen to Me chaise; the British expatriate T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings switched gears, creating items such as the tiered, biomorphic Mesa table. There were Young Turks such as Paul McCobb — who designed holistic groups of sleek, blonde-wood furniture — and Milo Baughman, who espoused a West Coast aesthetic in lushly upholstered chairs and sofas with angular steel frames.

As the collection of vintage mid-century modern chairs, dressers, coffee tables and other furniture on 1stDibs demonstrates, this period saw one of the most delightful and dramatic flowerings of creativity in design history.

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Style: Mid-Century Modern
Japanese Iron Abstract Bird Incense Burner
Located in San Diego, CA
Iron bird sculpture with a nice patina. Removable vented piece, perhaps for burning incense or flower arrangements, 1950s. Iron bird sculpture with a nice patina. Removable vented pi...
Category

1960s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Iron

Japanese Vintage Silver Metal Mounted Cloisonne Vase with Fish
Located in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire
Exceptional vintage Japanese silver mounted cloisonne vase decorated with veiltail gold-fish and carp swimming amidst pond weed and dating around around 1947. This beautifully made v...
Category

1940s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver Plate, Enamel

"The Golden Rose Abuzz" Hand-Crafted Men's Lapel Pin
Located in Asheville, NC
Vintage flower and bee, raw and polished stone, wire-wrapped together in a fashionable pin, designed for wearing on lapel. Hand-crafted by Mindy Lam, a jewelry artist that weaves v...
Category

2010s American Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Other

Large Pair of Pagoda Chinoiserie Gilt Bronze Lanterns, Mid-Century Modern
Located in Montreal, Quebec
Large pair of Pagoda Chinoiserie gilt bronze lanterns, Mid-Century Modern. Exceptionally decorative and beautiful, each lantern has a pair of candle holders accessible through a hin...
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20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Bronze

Mexican Sterling Silver Modernist Necklace, Atributted to Antonio Pineda
Located in Mexico City, CDMX
Circa 1950, We offer this fantastic Mexican sterling silver and onyx modernist necklace attributed to Antonio Pineda, Stamped “Mexico 925”; with an indiscernable stamp.
Category

1950s Mexican Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Stone, Silver

Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metal Ikebana Vase
Located in New York, NY
Japanese Mid-Century Modern ribbed metal ikebana vase with green patina.
Category

Mid-20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal

Hindu Head Brass Wood Table Lamp
Located in Hawthorne, CA
Artist and manufacturer are unknown. This is a beautiful single Hindu head lamp in brass and wood with distinctive marks in headdress and adornments.
Category

Late 19th Century Indian Antique Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Brass

Mid-Century Chinese Pewter and Brass Vase Table Lamp
Located in Rio Vista, CA
Mid Century Modern Chinese pewter and brass vase table lamp. Features a square pewter bodied vase with a round neck and brass ring highlights. Decorated on each side with bamboo moti...
Category

20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal, Brass, Pewter

Modernist Japanese Iron Lidded Vessel
Located in San Diego, CA
Iron vessel from Japan. Great form. Could be used as a incense burner of ashtray. Wonderful patina.
Category

1950s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Iron

Midcentury Sascha Brastoff Yellow Enamel Ashtray
Located in North Hollywood, CA
Midcentury Sascha Brastoff Yellow Enamel Ashtray A fantastic example of Mid-Century Modern enamel on metal copper work. This ashtray features a yellow and gold sunny abstract desig...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Copper, Enamel

Japanese Bronze Urn Vase Mounted as Table Lamp
By Leonard Foss
Located in Rio Vista, CA
Impressive Japanese bronze urn or vase featuring scenes of Phoenix's decorating the body. Twin handled elephant forms adorn the neck and the vase is mounted to a brass pedestal with ...
Category

20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Brass, Bronze

Steel Table Top Sculpture
Located in Oklahoma City, OK
Found object abstract steel table top sculpture by Colorado artist. Photographed with Bertoia side chair and Eames LTW for scale.
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Steel

20th Century Bronze Model of a Prowling Tiger
Located in London, GB
A grand and finely modelled life size bronze figure of a prowling tiger. Powerful and Regal. Probably 20th century Japanese. (Price + vat in EU zone).  
Category

20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Bronze

Mid-Century Modern Abstract Wall Sculpture in the Manner of Paul Evans
Located in Philadelphia, PA
An incredible studio made abstract sculpture made of iron and brass. Original owner purchased directly from the artist in early 1970s (unmarked). In the style of: Harry Bertoia, ...
Category

1970s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Brass, Iron

Pair of Brutalist Metal Torso Sculptures
Located in North Bergen, NJ
Pair of Mid-Century male and female metal torso sculptures. Very interesting and something you dont see everyday.
Category

1970s Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Related Items
Japanese Iron Owl Lantern Incense Burner
Located in San Diego, CA
Mid-century iron owl sculpture with a nice applied patina. Removable top for use as a lantern with a small candle or perhaps for burning incense, Japan, 1950s.
Category

1960s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Iron

Modernist Japanese Iron Lidded Vessel
Located in San Diego, CA
Iron vessel from Japan. Great form. Could be used as a incense burner of ashtray. Wonderful patina.
Category

1950s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Iron

Midcentury Bronze Dove Incense Burner Vessel 'Japan'
Located in San Diego, CA
Vintage, beautifully rendered, bronze incense burner modelled on a dove/bird figure. Incredibly sculptural piece with verdigris and Brutalist design elements. The piece trascends its...
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1950s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Bronze

Large Antique Chinese Cloisonné War Horse Sculpture
Located in San Diego, CA
Large antique Chinese cloisonné war horse sculpture, circa 1930s. The piece is substantial in size and is decorated in colorful mythical theme patterns with detachable saddle and man...
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Early 20th Century Chinese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

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Metal

Danish Modernist Silver Plate Ashtray or Incense Burner by Carl Cohr, 1950s
By Carl M. Cohr
Located in San Diego, CA
Egg-shaped silver plated brass ashtray or incense burner. Titled The Smile, it was designed and manufactured by Carl Cohr in Fredericia Denmark. Stamped Cohr, Denmark, 1950s.
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1950s Danish Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver Plate, Brass

Vintage Distressed Cast Iron Japanese Pagoda Lantern
Located in San Diego, CA
Vintage distressed cast iron Japanese pagoda lantern, circa 1950s. The lantern has a great distressed rust patina and a wonderful look. The piece is solid and functional and has a sm...
Category

Mid-20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Iron

Vintage Distressed Cast Iron Japanese Pagoda Lantern
Located in San Diego, CA
Vintage distressed cast iron Japanese pagoda lantern, circa 1950s. The lantern has a great distressed rust patina and a wonderful look. The piece is solid and functional and has a sm...
Category

Mid-20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Iron

Modernist Japanese Iron Nesting Candle Holders
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in San Diego, CA
Iron candle holders from Japan. Stamped. Great patina. 1950s.
Category

1950s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal

Cast Iron Midcentury Japanese Geisha Figurine
By Isamu Noguchi
Located in San Diego, CA
Cast iron Japanese geisha figurine, circa the 1960s. This piece in cast iron with a gold leaf finish and are quite heavy; they would make a great Mid-Century Modern accent in any space!
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Iron

Vintage Ceramic Lotus Sculpture Incense Holder
Located in San Diego, CA
Beautiful and sculptural vintage ceramic piece that is full of detail. This piece functions as an incense holder or could double as a candle holder. Beautiful petals in ceramic surro...
Category

1970s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Ceramic

Abstract Wood Bird Sculpture by Val Robbins
By Val Robbins
Located in San Diego, CA
Abstract bird sculpture by artist Val Robbins (1925-2009). Executed at his Rimrock Pennsylvania studio. Wood forms on metal legs, with a marble and wood base. The piece was purchased...
Category

1950s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal

Abstract Wood Bird Sculpture by Val Robbins
By Val Robbins
Located in San Diego, CA
Abstract bird sculpture by artist Val Robbins (1925-2009). Executed at his Rimrock Pennsylvania studio. Wood form on metal legs. The enamel is by his wife Mae Robbins. This was purch...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Enamel

  • Abstract Wood Bird Sculpture by Val Robbins
  • Abstract Wood Bird Sculpture by Val Robbins
  • Abstract Wood Bird Sculpture by Val Robbins
  • Abstract Wood Bird Sculpture by Val Robbins
H 16.75 in. W 7.5 in. D 4 in.
Previously Available Items
Japanese Mid-Century Silver Cloisonne Flowering Hawthorn Vase
Located in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire
A very fine mid-century Japanese Silver metal cloisonne vase decorated with flowering Hawthorn and dating from around 1950. This elegant bulbous shaped vase is finely made with silve...
Category

1950s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver

Vintage "Raindrops" Tree Sculpture by Curtis Jere
Located in Burbank, CA
Stunning vintage “Raindrops” tree sculpture by Curtis Jere in United States, circa 1970s. This elegant piece has a natural tree branch design, which has been decorated with elegant m...
Category

1970s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal, Brass, Gold Leaf

Japanese Iron Bird Bowls or Incense Burners
Located in San Diego, CA
Vintage low iron bowls in bird form. Would be great for decoration, incense or ring holders. Wonderful patina. Stamped Japan.
Category

1950s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Iron

Vintage "Maple Leaf" Wall Sculpture by Curtis Jere
Located in Burbank, CA
Pair of beautiful vintage "Maple Leaf" wall sculpture designed by Curtis Jere in the United States, circa 1970s. Features brass and copper torch cut maple leaves. This version can be...
Category

1970s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal, Brass, Copper

Pair of Asian Brass Lotus Expandable Incense Candle Holders
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A pair of intricately designed Asian Incense burners. The pair, closed, appear to be a bud, which rests on the back of a patterned brass turtle, however by twisting just above the ba...
Category

20th Century Indian Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Brass

Curtis Jere Abstract Mixed Metal Wall Sculpture
Located in San Antonio, TX
This original and unique Curtis Jere abstract mixed metal wall sculpture is in overall very good condition and wear consistent with age and use. This art piece brightens any room wi...
Category

Early 2000s American Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Brass, Copper, Steel

1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
Located in London, GB
A 1950s mixed-media abstract piece of wall art made from copper, chrome and aged metal. An unusual depiction of a family with a child and in one corner and two adults in the other. A...
Category

Mid-20th Century German Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal, Copper, Chrome

  • 1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
  • 1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
  • 1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
  • 1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
H 37.41 in. W 27.56 in. D 3.15 in.
Signed Midcentury Asian Modern Philip & Kelvin Laverne Wall Sculpture or Plaque
Located in Philadelphia, PA
A gorgeous wall plaque circa 1950s produced by Philip & Kelvin Laverne. It's solid metal consisting of pewter and bronze. Title: Mother and child. Signed.
Category

1950s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Bronze, Pewter

Large Jungin 'Pure Silver' Vase for Mitsukoshi
Located in Stamford, CT
A hand hammered Jungin (pure Silver) vase of exceptional size with subtle vertical bands and satin finish.
Category

Mid-20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver

Hand-Hammered Jungin 'Pure Silver' Vase
Located in Stamford, CT
A hand-hammered Jungin (Pure silver) vase having vertical bands. Great finish. Box included.
Category

Mid-20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver

Reticulated Silver and Enamel Serpent Necklace and Bracelet by Jerónimo Fuentes
Located in Mexico City, CDMX
Amazing reticulated snake necklace made of silver in green blue and red enamel with accented raised enamel joints Early mark - Late 1960s. -by Jeronimo Fuentes. Jeronimo Fuentes w...
Category

1960s Mexican Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver, Enamel

Modern Spun Brass Bowl with Wooden Base by Cheun Kee
Located in Houston, TX
Elegant brass spun bowl with warm patina on the outer surface that spills into the inner rim of the bowl. The bowl sits on a wooden base that foldable. The bowl had a Cheun Kee stamp...
Category

1950s Hong Kong Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Brass

Recent Sales

Japanese Mid-Century Silver Cloisonne Flowering Hawthorn Vase
Located in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire
A very fine mid-century Japanese Silver metal cloisonne vase decorated with flowering Hawthorn and dating from around 1950. This elegant bulbous shaped vase is finely made with silve...
Category

1950s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver

Vintage "Raindrops" Tree Sculpture by Curtis Jere
Located in Burbank, CA
Stunning vintage “Raindrops” tree sculpture by Curtis Jere in United States, circa 1970s. This elegant piece has a natural tree branch design, which has been decorated with elegant m...
Category

1970s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal, Brass, Gold Leaf

Japanese Iron Bird Bowls or Incense Burners
Located in San Diego, CA
Vintage low iron bowls in bird form. Would be great for decoration, incense or ring holders. Wonderful patina. Stamped Japan.
Category

1950s Japanese Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Iron

Vintage "Maple Leaf" Wall Sculpture by Curtis Jere
Located in Burbank, CA
Pair of beautiful vintage "Maple Leaf" wall sculpture designed by Curtis Jere in the United States, circa 1970s. Features brass and copper torch cut maple leaves. This version can be...
Category

1970s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal, Brass, Copper

Pair of Asian Brass Lotus Expandable Incense Candle Holders
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A pair of intricately designed Asian Incense burners. The pair, closed, appear to be a bud, which rests on the back of a patterned brass turtle, however by twisting just above the ba...
Category

20th Century Indian Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Brass

Curtis Jere Abstract Mixed Metal Wall Sculpture
Located in San Antonio, TX
This original and unique Curtis Jere abstract mixed metal wall sculpture is in overall very good condition and wear consistent with age and use. This art piece brightens any room wi...
Category

Early 2000s American Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Brass, Copper, Steel

1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
Located in London, GB
A 1950s mixed-media abstract piece of wall art made from copper, chrome and aged metal. An unusual depiction of a family with a child and in one corner and two adults in the other. A...
Category

Mid-20th Century German Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Metal, Copper, Chrome

  • 1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
  • 1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
  • 1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
  • 1950s Mixed-Media Abstract Copper Wall Art
H 37.41 in. W 27.56 in. D 3.15 in.
Signed Midcentury Asian Modern Philip & Kelvin Laverne Wall Sculpture or Plaque
Located in Philadelphia, PA
A gorgeous wall plaque circa 1950s produced by Philip & Kelvin Laverne. It's solid metal consisting of pewter and bronze. Title: Mother and child. Signed.
Category

1950s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Bronze, Pewter

Large Jungin 'Pure Silver' Vase for Mitsukoshi
Located in Stamford, CT
A hand hammered Jungin (pure Silver) vase of exceptional size with subtle vertical bands and satin finish.
Category

Mid-20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver

Hand-Hammered Jungin 'Pure Silver' Vase
Located in Stamford, CT
A hand-hammered Jungin (Pure silver) vase having vertical bands. Great finish. Box included.
Category

Mid-20th Century Japanese Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver

Reticulated Silver and Enamel Serpent Necklace and Bracelet by Jerónimo Fuentes
Located in Mexico City, CDMX
Amazing reticulated snake necklace made of silver in green blue and red enamel with accented raised enamel joints Early mark - Late 1960s. -by Jeronimo Fuentes. Jeronimo Fuentes w...
Category

1960s Mexican Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Silver, Enamel

Modern Spun Brass Bowl with Wooden Base by Cheun Kee
Located in Houston, TX
Elegant brass spun bowl with warm patina on the outer surface that spills into the inner rim of the bowl. The bowl sits on a wooden base that foldable. The bowl had a Cheun Kee stamp...
Category

1950s Hong Kong Vintage Mid-Century Modern Metalwork

Materials

Brass

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