Walter Von Nessen, ‘Rare Floor Lamp, New York’, ca. 1929, Rago
Walter Von Nessen, ‘Rare Floor Lamp, New York’, ca. 1929, Rago
Walter Von Nessen, ‘Rare Floor Lamp, New York’, ca. 1929, Rago

Printer: John Stuart Gordon, A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery 1920-1950, 2011, p. 101

The most iconic and beautiful American modern torchère design, Von Nessen’s masterwork of indirect lighting brilliantly marries neoclassicism with the Machine Age. Originally designed circa 1928, there has always been some controversy concerning its true authorship. Eliel Saarinen ordered twelve of the lamps for the dining hall of the Kingswood School, Cranbrook. The Saarinen and Swanson families and Cranbrook publications have maintained ever since that Eliel was the original designer and Nessen Studios the manufacturer. However, most curators believe that Von Nessen designed the model several years prior to the Cranbrook commission, and examples attributed solely to Von Nessen are in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yale University Art Gallery, MFA Boston and the Cooper Hewitt.

Signature: Unmarked

Karen Davies, At Home in America: Modern Decorative Arts, 1925 to the Depression, New Haven, 1983, p. 79

About Walter Von Nessen

Group Shows

2017
Open Air Modern, 
Brooklyn,
June Additions