T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings for Widdicomb Three-Drawer Commode

Buyer Protection Guaranteed

About

T. H. Robsjohn-Gibbings for Widdicomb three-drawer lacquered chest, 1950s, two smaller drawers on the left, bottom draw full length.

Details

  • Date of Manufacture
    1950s
  • Period
    1950-1959
  • Materials and Techniques
    Walnut
  • Condition
    Excellent
  • Dimensions
    32.75 in. H x 20.25 in. W x 54 in. D
    83 cm H x 51 cm W x 137 cm D
  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Number of Items
    1
  • Reference Number
    LU79607634013

About T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings (Designer)

British-born designer, interior decorator and author T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings (1905–76) was one of the great American tastemakers in the middle decades of the 20th century. Much like Edward Wormley, Robsjohn-Gibbings was a design classicist by education and inclination, but he would come to create some of the most gracious and livable modern furnishings of the era.

Robsjohn-Gibbings studied architecture at the University of London, then held various jobs that included designing décors for passenger liners and working as the art director of a film studio. In the early 1930s, while employed by the upper-crust interior designer Charles J. Duveen, Robsjohn-Gibbings experienced an epiphany during a visit to the British Museum. Examining the furniture depicted on ancient Greek ceramics — lithe stools and klismos chairs — he realized that he had found a design touchstone. By 1936, he had moved to New York and set up a showroom on Madison Avenue for his modern reinterpretations of classic Greek designs. Aided by contacts he’d developed while working with Duveen, he quickly established a clientele that included Elizabeth Arden, Doris Duke and Thelma Chrysler Foy.

Through his writings for magazines and books, Robsjohn-Gibbings earned a public following and was established as an urbane arbiter of taste. From 1943 to 1956, he produced an understated line of modernist furnishings for Widdicomb, which included one of the icons of the period: the tiered, biomorphic Mesa coffee table (1951). Robsjohn-Gibbings moved to Athens, Greece, in 1966, and created a new line of antiquity-inspired pieces for the firm Saridis. The series turned out to be his swan song.

Collectors’ interest in Robsjohn-Gibbings was reignited in the 1980s, when the 200-plus pieces from his 1936–38 commission for the Bel-Air estate of Los Angeles socialite Hilda Boldt Weber — pared-down neoclassical pieces rendered in blond wood (with the occasional flourish) — came on the market. (Up until then, the collection had remained in the house, despite its having changed hands several times.)

But his work for Widdicomb remains his most widely known, appreciated for its elegance and generous proportions. Robsjohn-Gibbings despised the stern aesthetic associated with his Bauhaus contemporaries, and a keynote of his modernist pieces is that they have no sharp angles. His chair and sofa frames, table legs and even many cabinets feature softly contoured edges. In whatever styled he designed, Robsjohn-Gibbings was guided by simplicity and timelessness. He wanted his furniture to be lived with happily.

About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2004

Typical response time: 10 hours

Located in New York, NY

Associations:
  • 20th Century Specialists

More from this Seller

Guy Lefevre for Jansen Three-Drawer Lacquered Commode
Guy Lefevre for Jansen Three-Drawer Lacquered Comm...
Guy Lefevre
Bronze, Wood
The lacquered three-drawer chest raised on a bronze base with short legs. Designed by Guy Lefevre for Maison Jansen.
Three-Drawer Cream Lacquered Commode by Bagues
Three-Drawer Cream Lacquered Commode by Bagues
Maison Baguès
Metal, Wood
The three-drawer cabinet with elaborate gilt metal fittings, with architectural drawings between gilt inlaid lines.
Aldo Tura Red Parchment Commode with Ten Drawers
Aldo Tura Red Parchment Commode with Ten Drawers
Aldo Tura
Goatskin
Aldo Tura red parchment commode with ten drawers.
Widdicomb Double Chest, 1940s Designed by C. G. Kimerly
Widdicomb Double Chest, 1940s Designed by C. G. Ki...
C. G. Kimerly
Walnut
Widdicomb double chest, 1940s, designed by C. G. Kimerly, with two sets of six graduated drawers, under an overhang.
Grosfield House Art Deco Black Lacquer Chest with Lucite Pull
Grosfield House Art Deco Black Lacquer Chest with ...
Grosfeld House
Lucite, Lacquer
Grosfield House Art Deco black lacquer chest with Lucite pull.
Three-Tier Glass Etagere 'Siegel Paris,' France, circa 1930
Three-Tier Glass Etagere 'Siegel Paris,' France, c...
Siegel Paris
Glass, Nickel
Three-tier glass etagere 'Siegel Paris,' France, circa 1930.
Paul Evans Burled Wood and Chrome Multifaceted Cabinet
Paul Evans Burled Wood and Chrome Multifaceted Cab...
Paul Evans
Metal, Fiberglass, Burl
The rectangular cabinet with double bend back doors, with high relief multiple angled panels veneered in chrome and burled wood, with fiberglass top and base.
Edward Wormley Dunbar Sideboard, Drawers and Doors with Shelves, circa 1958
Edward Wormley Dunbar Sideboard, Drawers and Doors...
Edward Wormley
Brass, Walnut
Edward Wormley Dunbar with multiple drawers with tab pulls and middle doors with shelves, label, USA, circa 1958. Brass Dunbar plaque label.
Jacques Dumond 'Attributed' Bar Console with Glass Supports, France, circa 1950
Jacques Dumond 'Attributed' Bar Console with Glass...
Jacques Dumond
Glass, Wood
Jacques Dumond ‘attributed’ bar console with glass supports, France, circa 1950, with top opening compartment and lower shelves with doors.
French Parchment and Cerused Oak Cabinet, circa 1940s
French Parchment and Cerused Oak Cabinet, circa 19...
Oak, Parchment Paper
French parchment and cerused oak cabinet, circa 1940s.
Paolo Buffa Parchment Sideboard on Tapered Legs W Curled Bentwood Encasement
Paolo Buffa Parchment Sideboard on Tapered Legs W ...
Paolo Buffa
Glass, Mirror, Wood, Parchment Paper
A Paolo Buffa parchment sideboard or bar on tapered legs with a curled bentwood encasement. Center drop-down and two additional side doors exposing a lighted mirrored interior with shel...
Fine Osvaldo Borsani Parchment and Maple Wardrobe or Chest
Fine Osvaldo Borsani Parchment and Maple Wardrobe ...
Osvaldo Borsani
Wood, Parchment Paper
The large cabinet with five square sections lacquered parchment doors, the right side with a series of drawers, the left and center being hanging closets.