Mid Century Modern Desks
Mid-century modern desks are are style of desk originally produced from roughly 1933 to 1965.
History & Description
Mid-century modern desks are characterised by their clean and simple lines. In stark contrast to the style of desks that pre-dated the 1930s, the designs of mid-century modern desks were clean, uncluttered and sleek.
The development of this style of furniture design can be traced to the progress in architecture, urban development and modern design in the 1920s, via artistic institutions such as the Bauhaus. By the 1950s, mid-century modern had been recognised as a significant design movement and furniture produced by interior and furniture designers such as George Nelson, Vladimir Kagan and Ole Wanscher became highly desired products.
The designs of mid-century modern desks celebrated minimalism and simplicity and were usually produced in monochromatic colour schemes. These enduring aesthetic attributes have ensured that mid-century modern desks are just as sought after today as they were in the mid-twentieth century. Accordingly, there is an extremely competitive market for mid-century modern desks.
Guide for collectors
Mid-century modern desks are easily recognisable due to their streamlined appearance, clean lines and simplicity of design. These sculptural elements continue to make mid-century modern desks relevant in contemporary homes. As a result, the market for mid-century modern desks is extremely competitive and examples manufactured by some of the most noted designers can sell for thousands of dollars.
Perhaps the most famous designers who epitomised the modern style are Anne Jacobsen, Herman Miller, George Nelson and Eero Saarinen. Instances of their furniture are sold regularly at international auction houses, such as Christie’s and Bonhams. Prices tend to range from $700 to $4,000.
There are a number of online resources that sell mid-century modern desks. A few examples include; Sarahpotter.co.uk, 1stdibs.com, Retrosixty.co.uk and Midcenturymodernfinds.com. Additionally, there are also a variety of websites that are a useful source of information for collectors, such as how to distinguish genuine mid-century modern furniture from reproductions, value and how to maintain an items’ condition. Examples include Midcenturymodernist.com and Themodernwarehouse.com.
In addition, another useful source for enthusiasts of mid-century modern furniture, including desks, is the furniture magazine Mid Century, and can be found at Midcenturymagazine.co.uk.
Mid-century modern desks are occasionally sold on eBay and prices tend to range between $300 and $800.
Notable auction sales
On October 16th 2011, a Herman Miller walnut, leather, enamel steel and aluminium home office desk realised a price of $3,500 through Bonhams, California. The desk was designed and built by noted American designer George Nelson, circa 1948.
In March 2009 at Bonhams in Knightsbridge, London, a Herman Miller chromed steel, hardwood and plastic desk, designed in 1970 by Peter J. Protzman sold for £1,140.
On February 14th 2012, a Danish mid-century modern desk, made of walnut, was sold on eBay for $500.
On February 14th 2012, a mid-century modern “ghost” desk, made from Lucite acrylic was sold on eBay for $305.
In September 2005 at Christie’s, New York, a mahogany desk, equipped with an upholstered swivel chair, made by Vladimir Kagan in the 1950s realised a price of $6,000.
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