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Modern Secretaires

Modern Furniture Design

The late 19th and early 20th centuries saw sweeping social change and major scientific advances—both of which contributed to a new aesthetic: Modernism. Rejecting the rigidity of Victorian artistic conventions, Modernists sought a new means of expression. References to the natural world and ornate classical embellishments gave way to the sleek simplicity of the Machine Age. Architect Philip Johnson characterized the hallmarks of modernism as “machine-like simplicity, smoothness or surface [and] avoidance of ornament.”


     Early practitioners of modernist design include the De Stijl (“The Style”) group, founded in the Netherlands in 1917, and the Bauhaus School, founded two years later in Germany. Followers of both groups produced sleek, spare designs—many of which became icons of daily life in the 20th century. The Modernists rejected both natural and historical references and relied primarily on industrial materials such as metal, glass, plywood, and, later, plastics. While Bauhaus principles Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe created furniture from mass-produced, chrome-plated steel, American visionaries like Charles and Ray Eames worked in materials as novel as molded plywood and fiberglass. Today, Breuer’s Wassily chair, Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona chair, and the Eames’s Lounge chair are emblems of progressive design and vintage originals are prized cornerstones of collections.


     It’s difficult to overstate the influence that Modernism continues to wield over designers and architects—and equally difficult to overstate how revolutionary it was when it first appeared a century ago. But because modernist designs are so simple, they can blend in seamlessly with just about any type of décor. Don’t overlook them.

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Promemoria Ernest Writing Desk in Leather and Wood by Romeo Sozzi
By Promemoria
Located in Valmadrera (LC), IT
A diligent secretary, Ernest, refined for materials and details, is a simple and linear writing desk. Ernest is a writing desk in wood, with structure in oak or beech. The upholstery...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary Italian Modern Secretaires

Materials

Wood, Leather

John Widdicomb for Mastercraft Burled Wood Desk with Brass Hardware
By Mastercraft, John Widdicomb
Located in North Miami, FL
This classic desk / executive desk by John Widdicomb for Mastercraft is burled wood and original brass hardware and legs. It is from the 1970s. It has 3 drawers; 2 on one side and 1 ...
Category

1970s American Vintage Modern Secretaires

Materials

Brass

“Elefantini” Secrétaire by Roberto Rida, Italy, 2016
By Roberto Giulio Rida
Located in New York, NY
Palm wood drop-down secretary/vanity, comprising a console-base supporting a cabinet decorated with 120 bronze elephants. The inside features a drawer with a bone pull. A matching be...
Category

2010s Italian Modern Secretaires

Materials

Bronze

Amuneal's Loft 4 Post Work Suite
By Amuneal
Located in New York, NY
The loft work suite is a modular office system from Amuneal’s Loft shelving system. Posts in blackened steel are coupled with solid brass machined fittings in a champagne finish. The...
Category

2010s American Modern Secretaires

Materials

Brass, Brass, Steel

Vintage Secretaire by Ligne Roset, 1988
By Philippe Starck, Ligne Roset
Located in Neervelp, BE
Elegant secretary desk by Pagnon Patrick & Pelhaitre Claude designed in 1988 for Ligne Roset. This rare and unique desk is made of high quality materials with steel legs, lacquere...
Category

1980s French Vintage Modern Secretaires

Materials

Steel

Pierre Balmain Original French Secretaire with Flap, 1980.
By Pierre Balmain
Located in Milan, IT
Astonishing Pierre Balmain original French Secretaire with flap, 1980s This piece is a part of "Collection ambience internationale" designed by Pierre Balmain, circa 1980. This colle...
Category

1980s French Vintage Modern Secretaires

Materials

Wood

Secretary Desk by Antoine Philippon & Jacqueline Lecoq
Glass on the upper part Desk with storage on the median part Bottom part with drawers.
Category

Mid-20th Century French Modern Secretaires

Materials

Steel

Unique Cabinetmakers Console Secretary Desk in Swiss Pearwood
Very heavy quality and outstanding cabinetmakers made to order piece. Very heavy and well made. Even the four legs are invisible high adjustable. An unique addition to every modern h...
Category

1980s Swiss Vintage Modern Secretaires

Rare Louis Vuitton File Folder Case
By Louis Vuitton
Located in Great Barrington, MA
A very rare and unusual Louis Vuitton case, most likely a special order made in early 20th century. Exterior of the case is made of calf's leather, interior dyed leather. A deep blue...
Category

Early 20th Century French Modern Secretaires

Materials

Leather

Rare Lajos Kozma Bar Cabinet or Secretary
By Lajos Kozma
Located in Kilmarnock, VA
Stunning and rare 1930s marquetry starburst front bar cabinet or secretary by Hungarian architect Lajos Kozma. The cabinet is in wonderful original condition with very few signs of age.
Category

1930s Hungarian Vintage Modern Secretaires

Materials

Rosewood, Walnut

Rare Sesamo Secretary by Frattini for Bernini
By Gianfranco Frattini
Located in Munich, DE
Designed by Gianfranco Frattini in 1981 and made by Bernini. Signed and in good condition.
Category

Late 20th Century Italian Modern Secretaires

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