Table and Stool by Edward Wormley

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About

An ebonized and polished dark mahogany telephone cabinet or vanity table having a storage drawer and an innovative fold-out bench.

Details

  • Condition
    Excellent
  • Dimensions
    31 in. H x 22 in. W x 15 in. D
    79 cm H x 56 cm W x 38 cm D
  • Seller Location
    New York, NY
  • Number of Items
    1
  • Reference Number
    LU89034006073

About Edward Wormley (Designer)

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 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 items on these pages 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

1stdibs seller since 2010

Typical response time: 4 hours

Located in New York, NY

Associations:
  • 20th Century Specialists

More from this Seller

Vanity Table by Edward Wormley
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Mahogany, Birch
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Triangular Table by Edward Wormley
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Walnut
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Occasional Table by Edward Wormley
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Oak, Brass
An interesting and uncommon occasional table on casters having a cruciform structure intersected by two circular planes, the top of the table surfaced with leather.
End Table by Edward Wormley
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Ash, Glass
A polished ash occasional table with a pentagonal base raised on disc feet, and five bowed leaves supporting a ring apron and the original circular bronze glass top.
Nesting Tables by Edward Wormley
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Walnut
An elegantly detailed and finely crafted set of nesting tables in light walnut.
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Burl, Glass
An elegant and sculptural low table having a burled faceted columnar wooden base supporting a thick round glass top.
Trapezoidal Table by Edward Wormley
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Walnut
A distinctive and uncommon occasional table having an exposed architectural frame with raised rails supporting a floating trapezoidal top and a slatted lower tier.
End Table by Edward Wormley
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Brass, Walnut
A substantial two-tiered end table in warm bleached walnut having a Frank square form on a plinth base, the door opened with an elegant spare bronze tab pull.
Low Table by Edward Wormley
Low Table by Edward Wormley
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Glass, Wood
An elegant and sculptural low table having an octagonal faceted columnar cream-lacquered wooden base supporting a thick round glass top.