Lot 70: Edward Wormley
25.5" x 73.5" x 26.25"
Provenance: Property from an Important West Coast Collection
Exhibited: "Modern Design: The Fabulous 50s," California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica, 2002.
Illustrated: Smith, Tobi. Modern Design: The Fabulous 50s. Lancaster: Schiffer Publishing, 2002. p 92.
Literature: Pina, Leslie. Dunbar: Fine Furniture of the 1950s. Lancaster: Schiffer Publishing, 2000. p 157.
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The furniture of Edward Wormley (1907-1995) breathes with warmth, elegance, and unparalleled craftsmanship. Throughout the mid-century, he collaborated with the furniture manufacturer Dunbar to produce chairs, tables, couches, and cabinets to furnish the modern American home. According to Wormley, “Furniture is needed for practical reasons, and because it must be there, it may as well be as pleasant as possible to look at, and in a less definable psychological way, comforting to the spirit.” This philosophy runs throughout the Listen-to-Me couch (1948), one of his most popular and enduring designs. This chaise lounge exploration established him among modern chaise lounge originators, including Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Charlotte Perriand. Designed at Wormley’s New York office in the same year Dunbar asked him to be their exclusive designer, his chaise lounge delicately undulates atop a cherry and maple base to effortlessly support a lounging body. This pristine lounge, from 1948, is adorned with its original metallic threaded fabric, a special request sourced by Dunbar. Pieces like these that incorporate the warmth of wood and custom, hand-made production allowed consumers a “comfortable alternative to historic styles and extreme modern design,” helping Dunbar and Wormley to become leaders in luxury mid-century furniture design.
Piña, Leslie. Preface. Dunbar: Fine Furnishings of the 1950s. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 2000. Print.