Gustav Stickley Furniture
Gustav Stickley was one of the principal figures in the American Arts and Crafts movement and creator of the Craftsman style. As a furniture designer and publisher of the magazine The Craftsman, he adopted many of the ideals of British design reform movement and popularized both its philosophy and its aesthetics in the United States.
Born in Wisconsin, Stickley moved with his family to Pennsylvania when he was a teenager and began working in his uncle’s chair factory in the town of Brandt. There, he learned the techniques of the late-19th-century furniture making at a time when the vogue was for Victorian revival furniture, characterized by extensive ornamentation. In 1883, Stickley established a furniture company with two of his brothers. When that foundered, he partnered five years later, with salesman Elgin Simonds, to form a new firm, which produced traditional furniture that appealed to the burgeoning American middle class. The success of this venture enabled Stickley to travel to Europe, where he discovered the writings of John Ruskin and William Morris, the two preeminent thinkers of the British Arts and Crafts movement. Stickley also traveled to France, where the Art Nouveau movement impressed him with its imaginative designs and skilled craftsmanship.
Stickley parted ways with Simonds at the turn of the 20th century, and decided to focus his creative energies on producing furniture in what became known as the Craftsman style, incorporating some of the elements of the designs and movements he had encountered in Europe. The pieces he created, which he stamped with the logo of a joiner’s compass, were rectilinear, largely free of ornament, made of oak, and built in such a way that the nature of their construction was plainly visible — all reflections of the tenets of the Arts and Crafts movement. His benches and rocking chairs were popular, and his leather-upholstered armchairs combined practicality, comfort and an understated silhouette. He also made side tables, like this unusual example, adorned with an octagonal Grueby Pottery tile in a cool shade of green, whicht makes it an ideal piece for an Art Pottery collector.
In 1901, Stickley launched The Craftsman magazine, which contained articles on all manner of domestic topics, from gardening and cooking to art and design, as well as poetry and fiction. In addition to popularizing Stickely’s own designs, the magazine acquainted Americans with the Arts and Crafts style in all its forms through its graphic design and the bungalows, art pottery, and hammered-copper lamps pictured in its pages. It also encouraged readers to practice craft themselves, promoting an early form of the do-it-yourself ethos. In 1904, Stickley founded the Craftsman Home Builders' Club, which allowed subscribers to the magazine to order architectural plans for the Arts and Craftsstyle structures that were featured in its pages; eventually this became one of its most popular features.
An ill-timed attempt to set up a New York showroom led to Stickley’s filing for bankruptcy in 1915. The outbreak of World War I, waning interest in the Arts and Crafts style, and increased competition all conspired to thwart Stickley's efforts. The Craftsman ceased publication a year later. When he died, in 1942, Arts and Crafts had been replaced by modernism as the favored aesthetic. It enjoyed a resurgence, however, the 1970s, and Stickley is now regarded as one of the most important American designers in the first half of the 20th century.
Stickley Audi & Company
Walking into this large Fifth Avenue furniture showroom is like stepping into a swank men’s club or an immaculate Upper East Side co-op. Three floors of polished mahogany, cherry and oak armoires, occasionals and sleigh beds, plus countless tufted loveseats and sofas, showcase the store’s conspicuous quality. Over a century ago, the family-owned Stickley company created furniture of quarter-sawn oak in response to William Morris’s Arts and Crafts movement. Over time, fashions changed, and business dwindled, until 1974, when the Audi family purchased the factory along with Stickley’s original designs. Together, Audi and Stickley have became known for the clean lines and solid simplicity of Gustav Stickley’s Mission designs, as well as collector-favored, museum-quality reproductions of colonial and European antiques. The John Widdicomb Collection features sumptuous curves, veneers and inlays, while the Metropolitan line integrates the pared-down Mission-style spindle with a moderne, urbane sensibility. Craftsman leather chairs, couches and ottomans are luxuriously comfortable and handsome, and Stickley’s hand-knotted oriental rugs are also renowned. Service here is very personalizedan in-house interior designer will even come to your houseand prices are steep, but these are pieces that will last for generations. — Kathryn WilliamsExtra
Stickley’s Mission pieces are guaranteed for the life of the original owner; you break it, they fix it.Sales
Find selected pieces marked down 40% to 45% at winter (Feb. and March) and summer (Aug. and Sept.) sales. Floor sample sales in spring and fall bring discounts of 50% to 60%.
ALL THINGS STICKLEY
If you thought that a love and appreciation for all things local and artisanal is a new trend, we’ve got news for you: between 1880 and 1920 the OG artistinal movement, the Arts and Crafts movement, swept through Britain, North America and other parts of the globe. During this period, Gustav Stickley became a huge supporter of the American craftsman style of furniture and his company Stickley Furniture became a champion for the handcrafted and functionally simple style of furniture. Want to know more about Stickley Furniture? You've got it!
THE PEOPLE BEHIND THE STICKLEY FURNITURE
Founded by the Stickley brothers, the main man behind the firm’s vision and mission was the oldest brother, Gustav Stickley. Stickley believed in the motto of ls Ik Kan, which is an old Flemish craftsman phrase that means “to the best of my ability.” The firm also established and published the The Craftsman magazine, which became a strong voice in spreading the Arts and Crafts philosophy (think traditional craftsmanship and anti-industrial) far and wide. Irene Sargent, a professor at Syracuse University, was the editor of the magazine and is credited with being a leading advocate of the Arts and Crafts movement.
STICKLEY FURNITURE AND MISSION STYLE — WHAT'S THE CONNECTION?
If you've heard these two phrases being talked about in the same breath and didn't know why, here’s the lowdown: Mission style furniture took off in the late 19th century, after a chair made by A.J. Forbes for San Francisco's Swedenborgian Church in 1894 was copied and popularized by a New York furniture maker in 1898 (snaps to those marketing chops!). The word “Mission” is only a hat tip to the presence of Spanish Missions in California. Apparently, Gustav Stickley didn’t really care for the association of Stickley furniture with Mission style, even though both styles appear to have a lot in common.
THE AUDI FAMILY
After the passing of the Stickley brothers, the Audi family took over the production of Stickley furniture. Design lovers knew that EJ Audi’s Manhattan showroom was the go-to place for a Stickley sofa or a Stickley chair. The current generation of the Audi family continues to helm the production of the beautiful craftsman style furniture and we, for one, are SO thankful!
THE STICKLEY MASCOT — THE MORRIS CHAIR
If there is a single piece of furniture that is a Stickley design to the T, it is the Morris chair. We like to think of the Stickley Morris chair as the unofficial mascot of Stickley furniture. Designed by William Morris (another big name in the Arts and Craft movement), this Stickley chair is a classic example of the brand and its values. Equal parts comfortable and stylish, this boxy chair with a high seat back is a piece of furniture we can really get behind. With slatted sides and long arms, some furniture enthusiasts like to think of this as a predecessor to the recliner. While the Morris chair is mostly found in upholstered in leather, there are heavy-weight textile options too, making this comfortable and stylish chair equally at home in a cabin, cottage or condo.
Stickley Furniture | Mattress
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Most Recent Comments
I placed an order for a chair, sofa and loveseat more than 6 months ago, the chair arrived, supposedly, last week in Denver and in town delivery is another two weeks. The service is horribly slow and mediocre customer service. Save yourself money time and frustration by shopping elsewhere
Excellent and careful assistance and follow through. Very good advice and took interest in my design project. Would be happy to work with him again at any time.
The service, quality,and selections at Stickley Audi are second to none. I look forward to being a life long customer. Your heirloom quality is an investment that will go on giving satisfaction to future generations.
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