Furniture follows fashion so it is not surprising that something new at the turn of the last century could use a freshening up. “Fashion,” said designer Coco Chanel, “is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Fashion follows us to our homes as well and it is in our living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms.
The word “modern” as an adjective describe the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past. As a noun, it describes a person or thing that is a departure from traditional styles or values.
The New Furniture, as Gustav first called it, was based on the notion that furniture should be both honest and simple, “a reaction against unnecessary gaudiness, and shoddy workmanship exhibited in the early days of industrial furniture making.
The Stickleys used solid wood construction, often employing quarter-sawn oak to demonstrate the beauty of the wood. But even more important to their lasting impression on furniture, they showed a genius for design, creating iconic forms that were beautiful to look upon, practical to use, and exceedingly strong and long-lasting.
The Morris chair, which was redesigned by Gustav Stickley is an icon in American furniture design. Praised in song, (Irving Berlin’s song You’d Be Surprised, sung by Marilyn Monroe extols the virtues of the Stickley Morris recliner), many pieces are highly sought after by collectors as a demonstration of American craftsmanship and design in furniture.
Gustav Stickley burst into prominence in the early 20th century with his Arts and Crafts designs, which would eventually become known as Mission Oak. Over the years Gustav would be joined in the manufacture of furniture by brothers Leopold, John George, and at other times in competition or collaboration with brothers Albert and Charles.
The Stickley Furniture company of today is mindful of its legacy to the Stickley brothers, but it also has an eye on the future. That it is why each year it produces a Stickley Collector’s piece. This year it is the Gus Woven Leather Bench, a piece to beautify any area of your house.