1948 George Nelson The Herman Miller Collection Eames Noguchi Laszlo Catalog
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1948 George Nelson The Herman Miller Collection Eames Noguchi Laszlo Catalog:
THE HERMAN MILLER COLLECTION
Furniture Designed by George Nelson, Charles Eames, Isamu Noguchi and Paul Laszlo
The First Herman Miller Catalog from 1948
George Nelson [introduction]: THE HERMAN MILLER COLLECTION [FURNITURE DESIGNED BY GEORGE NELSON, CHARLES EAMES, ISAMU NOGUCHI AND PAUL LASZLO]. Zeeland, MI: The Herman Miller Furniture Company, 1948. First edition. Oblong quarto. Tan cloth stamped in red and black. 72 pp. Black and white furniture photography and specifications throughout. Book design by George Nelson and Ernest Farmer. Offset shadows to front endpapers. Textblock signatures lightly shaken. A very good copy of the first Herman Miller catalog.
8.75 x 11.25 hardcover book with 72 pages highlighting the 1948 Herman Miller Furniture Line, featuring the plywood chairs, tables and screens of Charles Eames, (Photographs and production specifications for the molded plywood chairs we all know and love: DCW, DCM4, LCW, LCM chairs, as well as the Dining, Card and Incidental folding tables, FSW folding screens, and the CTW1, CTW3 and CTM1 coffee tables), George Nelson's classics, along with pieces by Isamu Noguchi and Paul Laszlo.
The 1948 catalog features the legenday Chess Table by Isamu Noguchi. "Both sculptural and utilitarian, the Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988) Chess table (designed 1944-48) was a chance for Noguchi to marry his artistic vision with his desire to produce usable vessels. He designed the initial prototype shortly after leaving the Nisei Japanese internment camp in Arizona. In 1944, Noguchi was one of 32 artists (the number symbolic of the 32 pieces on a chess board), including Alexander Calder, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp, and Max Ernst, invited to exhibit chess-inspired artwork for the show “The Imagery of Chess,” hosted by the Julien Levy Gallery in New York. A Newsweek critic described the table as “the most beautiful piece in the show.”
"George Nelson immediately bought Noguchi’s hit piece, and for a brief period beginning in 1947 had it manufactured in limited quantities at Herman Miller. Three amorphous wooden shapes and a curvaceous aluminum compartment assemble as a three-dimensional biomorphic structure. Just as Arp and Calder avoided semi-precious stones and other materials typically used in jewelry, Noguchi preferred veneered plywood, aluminum, and acrylic plastic to keep the table affordable. Through these methods, these artists achieved the transformative power of Surrealism by manifesting an idea and realizing the object’s potential “to entrap” the user in “an art performance, even to become bewitched.” — Peter Lowry
The Herman Miller furniture lines from 1948 has been called the most influential groups of furniture ever manufactured. This original catalog shows these pieces in beautiful, sharp detail. No disrespect to the Acanthus reprint of the 1952 catalog, but this catalog leaves the reprint in the dust-- from the halftone sharpness to the spot-color separations. This is the real deal and an opportunity to own a nice copy of the catalog that spotlights the most influential modern furniture line in history.
"What you make is important. Design is an integral part of business. The product must be honest. You decide what you want to make. There is a market for good design." -- George Nelson
"The real asset of Herman Miller at that time," Nelson wrote, "were items one never found on a balance sheet: faith, a cheerful indifference to what the rest of the industry might be up to, lots of nerve, and a mysterious interaction that had everyone functioning at top capacity while always having a very good time."
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