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Designer Spotlight: George Nelson

George Nelson was an American industrial designer and one of the founders of American Modernism. Nelson was born in Hartford, Connecticut on May 29, 1908 and attended Hartford Public High School in 1924 before attending Yale University. He had no intention of becoming an architect until one day he was caught in a rainstorm on campus. He ran into the first building he passed which happened to be the school of architecture. Once inside he saw a student exhibition titled “A Cemetery Gateway” and decided to pursue architecture full time.

As an undergraduate Nelson was published in magazines such as Pencil Points and Architecture and praised for his inventive work. During his final year at Yale (1928) he was hired by the architecture firm Adams and Prentice as a drafter. Nelson then went back to Yale to earn his second Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts. He received his degree in 1931 while preparing for the Paris Prize competition. While he was preparing he won the Rome Prize and was able to spend a year studying architecture in Rome while staying in a palace and enjoying a healthy stipend. While in Rome Nelson met a great many modernist pioneers and introduced their to American audiences. His articles in Pencil Point introduced Gio Ponti, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and Walter Gropius to America.

In 1940 Nelson had come up with many innovative concepts. In his book Tomorrow’s House he introduced the idea of the “family room” and the “storage wall”. In 1945, D.J. Depree, the Chairman of Herman Miller furniture appointed Nelson to be the Director of Design even though Nelson had zero experience designing furniture. He held the position from 1947 to 1972. Nelson created some of the most iconic pieces of furniture from the 20th century. Nelson oversaw the work and production of other furniture makers such as Ray and Charles Earmes, Richard Schultz, Donald Knorr, Isamu Noguchi and Harry Bertoia. It was the most successful period in Herman Miller history.

AntiqutiesWeb carries some of George Nelson’s most iconic designs. To own your own piece of American history contact us and take a look at some of our gorgeous pieces:

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Pair of Mid Century Side tables by George Nelson for Herman Miller. 

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A PAIR OF GEORGE NELSON POLISHED STEEL AND LEATHER CATENARY MEDIUM BROWN CHAIRS FOR HERMAN MILLER. MODEL 6380, DESIGNED IN 1962. PRICE IS FOR PAIR.

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Walnut, leather & steel desk. George Nelson for Herman Miller; designed in 1946. The doors opening to reveal shelves, drawers & niches.

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Coconut chair and ottoman, George Nelson & Associates for Herman Miller, USA, 1956. wool fabric, chrome plated steel, enameled metal.

 If you’re looking for a unique piece of mid century history then contact AntiquitiesWeb. Our selection of top quality antiques are unique, original, and timelessly beautiful. Whether you are looking for a pair of end tables or an interesting couch, AntiquitiesWeb has the piece for you. To see these pieces and more call us at 212-644-4236, contact us, or visit our New York gallery.

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