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Pair of Edward Wormley for Drexel Precedent Nightstands or Small Chests

$3,250

About

Pair of silver elm nightstands in dark brown finish with brass hardware. Designed by Edward Wormley for the Precedent collection by Drexel, designed while he worked for Dunbar. Hardware shown is in nickel, but will be sold with original brass handles. Nickel plating is an up charge. To be refinished.

Details

  • Creator
    Edward Wormley (Designer)
  • Dimensions
    Height: 28.5 in. (72.39 cm)Width: 20 in. (50.8 cm)Depth: 17 in. (43.18 cm)
  • Style
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques
  • Place of Origin
  • Period
  • Date of Manufacture
    circa 1947
  • Condition
    Wear consistent with age and use. To be refinished.
  • Seller Location
    St. Louis, MO
  • Reference Number
    1stDibs: LU820211516761

Shipping & Returns

  • Shipping
    Ships From: St. Louis, MO
  • Return Policy

    A return for this item may be initiated within 3 days of delivery.

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About the Designer

Edward Wormley

As the longtime director of design for the Dunbar furniture company, Edward Wormley was, along with such peers as George Nelson at Herman Miller Inc., and Florence Knoll of Knoll Inc., one of the leading forces in bringing modern design into American homes in the mid-20th century. Not an axiomatic modernist, Wormley deeply appreciated traditional design, and consequently his work has an understated warmth and a timeless quality that sets it apart from other furnishings of the era.

Wormley was born in rural Illinois and as a teenager took correspondence courses from the New York School of Interior Design. He later attended the Art Institute of Chicago but ran out of money for tuition before he could graduate. Marshall Field hired Wormley in 1930 to design a line of reproduction 18th-century English furniture; the following year he was hired by the Indiana-based Dunbar, where he quickly distinguished himself. It was a good match.

Dunbar was an unusual firm: it did not use automated production systems; its pieces were mostly hand-constructed. For his part, Wormley did not use metal as a major component of furniture; he liked craft elements such as caned seatbacks, tambour drawers, or the woven-wood cabinet fronts seen on his Model 5666 sideboard of 1956. He designed two lines for Dunbar each year — one traditional, one modern — until 1944, by which time the contemporary pieces had become the clear best sellers.

Many of Wormley’s signature pieces — chairs, sofas, tables and more — are modern interpretations of traditional forms. His 1946 Riemerschmid Chair — an example is in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art — recapitulates a late 19th-century German design. The long, slender finials of his Model 5580 dining chairs are based on those of Louis XVI chairs; his Listen-to-Me Chaise (1948) has a gentle Rococo curve; the “Precedent” line that Wormley designed for Drexel Furniture in 1947 is a simplified, pared-down take on muscular Georgian furniture. But he could invent new forms, as his Magazine table of 1953, with its bent wood pockets, and his tiered Magazine Tree (1947), both show. And Wormley kept his eye on design currents, creating a series of tables with tops that incorporate tiles and roundels by the great modern ceramicists Otto and Gertrud Natzler.

As the vintage items on 1stDibs demonstrate, Edward Wormley conceived of a subdued sort of modernism, designing furniture that fits into any decorating scheme and does not shout for attention.

About the Seller
5.0
Located in St. Louis, MO
Platinum Seller
These expertly vetted sellers are 1stDibs' most experienced sellers and are rated highest by our customers.
Established in 1993
1stDibs seller since 2006
625 sales on 1stDibs
Typical response time: <1 hour
Associations
20th Century Specialists
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