(8) T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings Widdicomb Dining Chairs
The company was founded in 1858 when George Widdicomb started a cabinet shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The company grew and, with twelve employees, moved to a new, larger location. His four sons went into business with him and the company was named George Widdicomb & Sons. In 1970, the company name is acquired by John Widdicomb Company. From 1943 until 1956, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings served as designer for the company, designing Modern furniture inspired by Scandinavian design. Works by the Widdicomb Furniture Company are found in the collection of the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. The companies archive is held in the collection of the Grand Rapids Public Library.
In the late 1930s and in the Forties, British-born Robsjohn-Gibbings was the most important decorator in America. He set up shop on New York`s Madison Avenue in 1936 and proceeded to design houses from coast to coast for such famous people as tobacco heiress Doris Duke, Alfred A. Knopf and Thelma Chrysler Foy. “He was successful at mixing classical elements from ancient Greece and the Art DÃ©co period in a modern way that appealed to American tastes,” says Paris dealer Eric Philippe.
One of the designer`s most important residential commissions was Hilda Boldt Weber`s mansion Casa Encantada in Bel-Air. Creating more than 200 pieces of furniture for that house between 1934 and 1938, Robsjohn-Gibbings indulged his passion for Greco-Roman design by incorporating sphinxes, dolphins, lions` paw feet and Ionic columns in table bases, torchÃÂ¨res and select pieces of furniture, nonetheless keeping the interior design simple and elegant. Casa Encantada survived its sale to Conrad Hilton in 1952, but its next owner, David Murdoch, stripped the house of what was called “opulent simplicity” and auctioned off the contents in the early 1980s.
Since then pieces come up for sale every once in a while, mostly in the United States, making Philippe`s offering a significant one. Highlights include a pair of gilt-wood torchÃÂ¨res whose fluted shafts are guarded by three carved maple doves, a console table consisting of a carved open-winged griffin supporting an ash-and-burr top and a pair of wall lamps carved in a Chinese Art DÃ©co style, which the dealer is showing alongside other 1930s and `40s Robsjohn-Gibbings designs, such as a pair of oversized armchairs perched on horn-shaped blond mahogany feet and upholstered in yellow hand-woven wool.
A set of eight dining chairs designed by T.H. Robsjohn Gibbings and made by Widdicomb. Set includes one armchair and seven side chairs. Special set that is fully refinished and reupholstered to excellent condition.
Arm Chair: 23″ W x 20″ D x 34″ H
Seat Height: 18″