Sunday, June 13, 2010

Charles Rohlfs

Another wonderful surprise at the Huntington was a fan-freaking tastic exhibit of Charles Rohlfs. He was a very unique and talented furniture maker at the turn of the century, influencing Gustav Stickley among other Arts and Crafts furniture makers. He claimed that his only influence was the lines in the wood itself, although there are tidbits of Chinese, Art Nouveau, and Gothic elements in his work. He disapproved of his style being labelled, and preferred to call his furniture "the Rohlfs style" or "artistic furniture".

Why can't every artist be so dedicated to cultivating their unique artistic voice?

“My designs are my own. I evolve them. They are like those of no other period nor people...I do not read Ruskin nor anybody nor anything that might influence my ideas. I never get them from books...They are mine and into their execution I put all my heart and force and that is why they appeal.” —Charles Rohlfs (1853–1936), House Beautiful, January 1900

I am a huge fan of the Craftsmen and Arts and Crafts style, so this also was a fabulous find at the Huntington. All of these famous pieces were there on display. Fully rotating desks with the most intricately carved faces, stocky supple rockers, dark, brooding grandfather clocks....delicate shell shaded la la!!


  1. WOW. Fantastic! It's incredible to me that he suggests he never read Ruskin or was not at all influenced by other members of the Arts and Crafts movement, because I just see echoes of the work of other A& my FAVOURITE, Scotsman Charles Rennie Mackintosh (the Willow Tea Room in Glasgow is like heaven on earth). One way or another, Rohlfs is fantastic

  2. those pieces in the second image are very Art Nouveau to me. Like something in a Mucha image come to life (reminds me of the METRO signs in Paris--which he didn't design, did he?? I want to learn more about him!

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  4. Oh Baroness, you would LOVE that exhibit, it's on tour so hopefully it will come up by you! I'm just nuts for that rocker. That's funny, when my family visited Glasgow I dragged them to the Mackintosh museum in his home--they were so mad at me and totally bored, but I was in heaven!! I missed the tea room, I'll have to check it out if I ever make it back there.

    Yes, just like music or any other art form, I don't think anyone creates in a vacuum. It's impossible to know what kind of impact the world has on your work while you're in the midst of all the chaos of creation, but the clues are there! I love hearing people say that so and so "invented" something, makes me chuckle.

  5. Literally jaw-dropping. Hello Kim! Thank you for finding me. I LOVE that you like to discuss social issues! Yay!