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Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

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
Wooden Mortar and Pestle with Nail Studs
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Wooden mortar and pestal with nail studs - an attractive piece, used as a prop in the television show MAD MEN. A lovely decorative piece or use it to crush herbs to medicines.
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wood

3 Mid-Century Tesselated Stone Aztec Masks
Located in New York, NY
3 Mid-Century modern pre-columbian style Aztec masks made with various tesselated semi-precious stone (lapis,onyx, quartz, mother-of-pearl) (PRICED EACH)
Category

20th Century Central American Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Lapis Lazuli, Onyx, Quartz

Antique Early 20th Century Traditional Metal Iron, circa 1930
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Vintage traditional metal iron with a gravure and a wooden handle. Made by unknown manufacturer in Spain, circa 1930. In original condition, wear consistent with age and use, p...
Category

1930s Spanish Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Brass

Vintage Brass Roman Chariot Figure circa 1950
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Vintage metal figure of the traditional roman chariot with an olympic symbol stamped. Made by unknown manufacturer in Spain, circa 1950. In original condition, wear consistent ...
Category

1950s Spanish Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Brass

Impressive and Seldom Nigerian Large Basket Garment and Cover
Located in Antwerp, BE
An impressive and seldom Nigerian large basket garment and cover, with dyed patterned band. Those baskets where used to preserve grains. Tall colorful handwoven lidded basket from ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Nigerian Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Straw

Midcentury Carved Inuit TOTEM in Birch with Circular Mother-of-Pearl Inlay
Located in New York, NY
This handcrafted birchwood totem offers a stylized depiction of an inuit man. The facial features, consistent with native carving of this region, recall the style of Japanese kabuki ...
Category

1960s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Stone

Antique Early 20th Century Traditional Toy Kitchen Reproduction, circa 1930
Located in Barcelona, Barcelona
Vintage iron toy kitchen figure of a traditional antique kitchen representation. Made by unknown manufacturer in Spain, circa 1930. In original condition, wear consistent with ...
Category

1930s Spanish Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Brass

Alajar Pottery Plate with Face in the Manner of Picasso
By Alfaraz
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A wonderful terracotta plate with tripod legs - painting in the manner of Picasso - stamped and with original tag Could be hung or used only as decorative or for the bar too!
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Pottery, Terracotta

Vintage Aztec Inspired Sterling Silver Brooch/Pendant, Mexico, 1960s
Located in San Diego, CA
Vintage Aztec god of death Miclantecuhtli inspired pendant/brooch in sterling silver. Marked: FV México, Sterling 925.
Category

1960s Mexican Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Silver

"at the Market, Congo," Large Art Deco Master Painting by Charles Melikoff
Located in Antwerp, BE
Charles Melikoff is a Belgian Orientalist Impressionist & Modern painter. In an era when fine art and natural history museums commissioned artists to travel the world to draw and pa...
Category

Mid-20th Century Belgian Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Canvas

Early 20th Century Water Buffalo Skull
Located in Antwerp, BE
A large wall mountable buffalo skull. Weight: 15 kg.
Category

Early 20th Century South African Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Horn, Animal Skin, Wood

Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
Located in Chicago, IL
An incredible and rare mid-20th century Dida (Ivory Coast) hand-plated Shibori tie-dyed raffia ceremonial kerchief mounted on a linen stretched frame. This kerchief was not woven on ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Ivorian Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Raffia

South African Tribal Carved Wooden Figure of Naked Lady by G. Tandi, circa 1960s
Located in Richmond, Surrey
South African Tribal carved wooden figure of naked lady by G. Tandi, circa 1960s.
Category

1960s South African Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Hardwood

Related Items
Alajar Pottery Plate with Face in the Manner of Picasso
By Alfaraz
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A wonderful terracotta plate with tripod legs - painting in the manner of Picasso - stamped and with original tag Could be hung or used only as decorative or for the bar too!
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Pottery, Terracotta

Vanity Chair Upholstered in Mohair with Wood Handle and Nail Details
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A lovely vanity chair with wood frame that is exposed in the top rear s a handle of sorts... the upholstery is new in a mint gray mohair - very chic and rich looking... a compliment ...
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Upholstery, Wood, Mohair

Charcuterie Set with Domed Glass Lid Wooden Board Knife and Fork
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Cheese or charceuterie plate with glass domed lid and silver serving utensils. The glass lid fits securely into a groove carved into the wooden base. The silver serving set have pins...
Category

Mid-20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Silver Plate

Telescope with Adjustable Wooden Legs and Patinated Brass Hardware
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Telescopes are a terrific decorative addition to any den, library or study. A compliment to any Ralph Lauren, rustic or studious environment, ours has all wooden adjustable legs with...
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Brass

Hinged Wooden Box with Inlaid Brass Strips
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Hinged wooden box with inlaid brass strips - a unique storage piece, handsome in any setting.
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Pair of Folk Art Found Art Industrial Spheres with Nail Details
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A great pair of found art pieces - folk art hand made Industrial art sculptures.
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Metal

Ralph Lauren Style Horn Bench in Mohair with Bronze Nail Details
By Ralph Lauren
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A wonderful foot stool in the style of Ralph Lauren - a compliment to any organic or natural environment and perfectly suited to rest ones weary feet. Naturally beautiful in a cabin ...
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Horn, Upholstery

Folk Art Hand-Carved Wooden Box with Grapes and Leaves
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Breathtaking folk art hand-carved wooden box with grapes, vine and leaf detail. This Dionysian solid wood box is a compliment to any kitchen, great for recipe cards or tea bags. ...
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20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wood

Hanging Mexican Wooden Cupid with Bow
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A rosy-cheeked wooden cupid to bring love into your life. This is a unique, hand-carved, hand-painted wooden cupid with a wire suspension and removable wooden bow and arrow. At 2...
Category

20th Century Mexican Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wood

  • Hanging Mexican Wooden Cupid with Bow
  • Hanging Mexican Wooden Cupid with Bow
  • Hanging Mexican Wooden Cupid with Bow
  • Hanging Mexican Wooden Cupid with Bow
H 12 in. W 25 in. D 25 in.
Angular Inlay Patterned Wooden Bookends with Metal Slide
By Don S. Shoemaker
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Angular inlay patterned wooden bookends with metal slide - a wonderful pair, in the Manner of Don Shoemaker - an array of patterns and solid pieces ready to show off the shelf or tab...
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Rosewood

Tommi Parzinger Studded Lamp with Silk Shade
By Tommi Parzinger
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Tommi Parzinger studded lamp with silk shade, this singular lamp is perfectly suited for any individual space, and a compliment to the vanity or dressing area, especially due to the ...
Category

20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Metal

Handmade Folk Art Tray with Butterfly Collage and Inlay Wooden Details
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A rare and unique wooden tray with cut out handles and a wonderfully intricate inlay wood / marquetry perimeter with meticulous detailed collage of positioned Butterfly wing details ...
Category

Early 20th Century Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wood

Previously Available Items
Midcentury Los Ballesteros Taxco Mexico Silver and Amethyst Aztec Head Brooch
Located in Point Richmond, CA
Offered by Zena Kruzick Midcentury Los Ballesteros Taxco Mexico silver and amethyst Aztec head brooch A beautifully carved amethyst head of Aztec royalty set into a sterling silv...
Category

1950s Mexican Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Amethyst, Sterling Silver

Extraordinary Tutsi Screen on Custom Mount
Located in Chicago, IL
An extraordinary 20th century Tutsi handwoven reed and grass screen with a fantastic geometric pattern woven in dark violet grasses, used to protect milk pots, on custom wall mount t...
Category

Mid-20th Century Rwandan Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Reed

Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
Located in Chicago, IL
An incredible and rare mid-20th century Dida (Ivory Coast) hand-plated Shibori tie-dyed raffia ceremonial kerchief mounted on a linen stretched frame. This kerchief was not woven on ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Ivorian Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Raffia

  • Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
  • Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
  • Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
  • Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
H 22.5 in. W 18 in. D 1 in.
Large and Intricate Soumak Area Rug in Neutral Tones, Beige, Green and Red
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A grid-like, rational design for a soumak area rug in pleasing neutral tones. The soumak brocading technique leaves the wool threads to hang loose on the underside of the rug, which ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Turkish Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wool, Cotton

Pair of Framed Carved Brown Rosewood African Faces
Located in Pasadena, CA
Pair of framed wood carvings of male and female faces mounted on burlap; each is completed flat on the back and secured to the burlap. Appear to be African in origin but we cannot n...
Category

Mid-20th Century African Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Burlap, Wood

Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
Located in Pasadena, CA
An authentic African headrest from the Gurage tribe. These traditional hand-carved pieces were personal accessories. The headrests were usually carved from a single piece of fine-gra...
Category

20th Century Ethiopian Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wood

  • Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
  • Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
  • Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
  • Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
H 6.5 in. W 6.5 in. D 3 in.
Dhurrie Area Rug with Multicolor Motif
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Dhurrie area rug with navy blue border around a field of feathered geometric motifs. Condition: The rug has been professionally cleaned and is in excellent vintage condition. ...
Category

Late 20th Century Indian Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Cotton, Wool

Moroccan Rug
Located in New York, NY
This charming Moroccan rug features a bold variety of elliptical medallions and ovular motifs surrounded by a rich variety of contrasting colors. The bold color palette includes bold...
Category

20th Century Moroccan Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wool

  • Moroccan Rug
  • Moroccan Rug
  • Moroccan Rug
  • Moroccan Rug
W 39 in. L 39 in.
Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
Located in Rochester, NY
Mid-Century American abstract sculpture. Strongly influenced by African tribal art. Terracotta with natural finish. Artist unknown.
Category

1960s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Ceramic, Pottery, Terracotta

  • Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
  • Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
  • Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
  • Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
H 8 in. W 8 in. D 12 in.
Colorful Vintage Moroccan Rug
Located in New York, NY
Vintage Moroccan rug, Morocco, mid-20th century. This vintage tribal Moroccan rug has a uniquely modern pattern that adds the perfect touch to Primitive or abstract decor. Layered ov...
Category

20th Century Moroccan Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wool

"Sea Dollar" Fiber Art Wall Hanging by Ruth Morrow
Located in Los Angeles, CA
One of a kind design by artist Ruth Morrow. Signed and dated 1978.
Category

1970s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Shell, Wool

Large Authentic Hand-Carved African Sculpture on Suede Base by Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Authentic hand-carved African sculpture, woman's head with four horns, by the Ekoi tribe in Nigeria with a suede base by Karl Springer, American, 1980's (photo of original Karl Spri...
Category

1980s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Recent Sales

Midcentury Los Ballesteros Taxco Mexico Silver and Amethyst Aztec Head Brooch
Located in Point Richmond, CA
Offered by Zena Kruzick Midcentury Los Ballesteros Taxco Mexico silver and amethyst Aztec head brooch A beautifully carved amethyst head of Aztec royalty set into a sterling silv...
Category

1950s Mexican Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Amethyst, Sterling Silver

Extraordinary Tutsi Screen on Custom Mount
Located in Chicago, IL
An extraordinary 20th century Tutsi handwoven reed and grass screen with a fantastic geometric pattern woven in dark violet grasses, used to protect milk pots, on custom wall mount t...
Category

Mid-20th Century Rwandan Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Reed

Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
Located in Chicago, IL
An incredible and rare mid-20th century Dida (Ivory Coast) hand-plated Shibori tie-dyed raffia ceremonial kerchief mounted on a linen stretched frame. This kerchief was not woven on ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Ivorian Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Raffia

  • Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
  • Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
  • Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
  • Dida Tie-Dyed Ceremonial Kerchief
H 22.5 in. W 18 in. D 1 in.
Large and Intricate Soumak Area Rug in Neutral Tones, Beige, Green and Red
Located in Los Angeles, CA
A grid-like, rational design for a soumak area rug in pleasing neutral tones. The soumak brocading technique leaves the wool threads to hang loose on the underside of the rug, which ...
Category

Mid-20th Century Turkish Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wool, Cotton

Pair of Framed Carved Brown Rosewood African Faces
Located in Pasadena, CA
Pair of framed wood carvings of male and female faces mounted on burlap; each is completed flat on the back and secured to the burlap. Appear to be African in origin but we cannot n...
Category

Mid-20th Century African Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Burlap, Wood

Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
Located in Pasadena, CA
An authentic African headrest from the Gurage tribe. These traditional hand-carved pieces were personal accessories. The headrests were usually carved from a single piece of fine-gra...
Category

20th Century Ethiopian Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wood

  • Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
  • Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
  • Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
  • Gurage Headrest from Ethiopia
H 6.5 in. W 6.5 in. D 3 in.
Dhurrie Area Rug with Multicolor Motif
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Dhurrie area rug with navy blue border around a field of feathered geometric motifs. Condition: The rug has been professionally cleaned and is in excellent vintage condition. ...
Category

Late 20th Century Indian Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Cotton, Wool

Moroccan Rug
Located in New York, NY
This charming Moroccan rug features a bold variety of elliptical medallions and ovular motifs surrounded by a rich variety of contrasting colors. The bold color palette includes bold...
Category

20th Century Moroccan Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wool

  • Moroccan Rug
  • Moroccan Rug
  • Moroccan Rug
  • Moroccan Rug
W 39 in. L 39 in.
Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
Located in Rochester, NY
Mid-Century American abstract sculpture. Strongly influenced by African tribal art. Terracotta with natural finish. Artist unknown.
Category

1960s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Ceramic, Pottery, Terracotta

  • Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
  • Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
  • Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
  • Abstract Terracotta Sculpture
H 8 in. W 8 in. D 12 in.
Colorful Vintage Moroccan Rug
Located in New York, NY
Vintage Moroccan rug, Morocco, mid-20th century. This vintage tribal Moroccan rug has a uniquely modern pattern that adds the perfect touch to Primitive or abstract decor. Layered ov...
Category

20th Century Moroccan Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Wool

"Sea Dollar" Fiber Art Wall Hanging by Ruth Morrow
Located in Los Angeles, CA
One of a kind design by artist Ruth Morrow. Signed and dated 1978.
Category

1970s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

Materials

Shell, Wool

Large Authentic Hand-Carved African Sculpture on Suede Base by Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Authentic hand-carved African sculpture, woman's head with four horns, by the Ekoi tribe in Nigeria with a suede base by Karl Springer, American, 1980's (photo of original Karl Spri...
Category

1980s American Vintage Mid-Century Modern Tribal Art

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