A 2023 Choice Reviews Outstanding Academic Title
The 20th century furniture is hot. American Furniture Designers: 1900 to the Present highlights the furniture produced by the 20 most important American furniture designers of the 20th and early 21st centuries plus a selection of the best-known European designers whose work is sold by Knoll International and Herman Miller. The designers are organized into five chapters. Introductions to each section summarize the evolution of furniture design as it evolved through the 20th and early 21st centuries. The book begins with the Arts and Crafts era before World War I; moves into the interwar period when Modernism gained a foothold in America; continues through the Postwar heyday of Mid-century Modern; highlights the furniture from the 1970s and into the 21st century with a focus on the foremost promoters of modern furniture, Knoll International and Herman Miller; and concludes with a selection of the top Studio Furniture makers and their innovative creations.
The book focuses on the leading American designers from each of these periods including Gustav Stickley and Charles Rohlfs during the Arts and Crafts movement, Paul Frankl and Gilbert Rohde in the interwar period, Charles and Ray Eames and George Nelson for Mid- century Modern, and Wendell Castle and George Nakashima for Studio Furniture to name just a few. All their furniture is explained and profusely illustrated with 280 color photos.
For anyone curious about the modern material culture that surrounds them, the book will explain everything about American furniture from 1900 into the 21st century: when it was made, where it was made, who made it, what it was made of, how it was designed, how long it was in production, and how the furniture related to its contemporaries.
Oscar P. Fitzgerald, PhD is a nationally known historian, author, lecturer, and consultant on American furniture from colonial times to the present. As a member of the faculty of the Smithsonian Institution/George Washington University Decorative Arts and Design History Masters Program, he teaches all the furniture classes He has shared his passion for furniture with audiences nationwide, including a number of certification seminars for appraisers. Recently, he presented a program on identifying Mid-century Modern furniture fakes at the annual conference of the International Society of Appraisers. His latest publication is the definitive American Furniture: 1650 to the Present.
Foreword by Christopher Long
I. The American Arts and Crafts Movement: 1900-1916
1. Charles Rohlfs
2. Charles and Henry Greene
3. Gustav Stickley
4. Frank Lloyd Wright
II. Modernism: A Tough Sell in America: 1920-1940
5. Paul Frankl
6. Gilbert Rohde
7. Kem Weber
8. Donald Deskey
III. Mid-Century Modern: 1940s through the 1970s
9. George Nelson
10. Charles and Ray Eames
11. Florence Knoll
12. Edward J Wormley
13. Russel Wright
14. Paul Evans
IV. Modernism, Postmodernism, and into the 21st Century: Knoll International and Herman Miller
15. Knoll Designers after Florence Knoll: 1965 to the Present
16. Herman Miller Designers post George Nelson: 1972 to the Present
V. Studio Furniture
17. George Nakashima
18. Sam Maloof
19. Wendell Castle
20. Garry Knox Bennett
21. Tommy Simpson
22. John Cederquist
About the Author
Decorative-arts consultant Fitzgerald profiles 20 key American furniture designers and a handful of notable designers for Knoll International and Herman Miller. Sections organized by movement/era (Arts and Crafts; mid-century modern; 21st-century design) include introductions that contextualize how design was influenced by worldwide events, advancements in production, and shifting U.S. tastes and living habits. Nearly 300 photos, mostly in color, add interest. A readable volume, most useful for designers, researchers, and collectors interested in identifying and dating design trends and individual designers.
Beginning with inspirations from the Arts and Crafts movement and continuing through the second decade of the 21st century, Fitzgerald provides a detailed look at the designers, those who influenced them, and those who were influenced by them. This grants the reader a good insight into the designers' thinking about and response to the cultural expectations of the era…. The book is not only rich in illustrations (color and black-and-white depictions of various pieces of furniture), but it provides a clear understanding of the spaces in which they may have resided.Highly recommended. All readers.
Oscar Fitzgerald is a highly regarded scholar of American furniture who has written a number of books on the subject, including the important publication Four Centuries of American Furniture. His commitment to teaching design is reflected in these books, which provide a thorough and valuable survey of major figures and movements in American furniture design.
1/31/23, Choice: This book was included in a roundup of top community college titles.