Gustav Stickley

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The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. The Columbia University Press

Stickley, Gustav

Gustav Stickley, 1858–1942, American furniture designer, b. Osceola, Wis. Probably the best-known American associated with the arts and crafts movement, Stickley ran a Binghamton, N.Y., chair factory in the 1880s. Around the turn of the century he began producing a line of sturdy, functional, and comparatively affordable oak pieces. Often called mission furniture, they celebrated simplicity and function over complexity and ornament. Stickley founded (1901) the Craftsman Workshops in Eastwood, N.Y., and established a monthly magazine, The Craftsman. His workshops were especially noted for their reclining Morris chairs; they also produced a wide variety of other furniture and metalware, lighting fixtures, and other decorative accessories. Several of his brothers and others produced furniture in a similar style. Stickley also created designs for a series of relatively inexpensive homes. After an overly rapid expension, he went into bankruptcy (1915) and mission-style pieces soon went out of style. In the latter part of the 20th cent. Stickley's work again became popular as appreciation for the arts and crafts aesthetic resurfaced. His original pieces now command high prices never envisioned by their creator.

See his Craftsman Homes (repr. 1995); biography by B. Sanders (1996); studies by J. C. Freeman (1966), J. J. Baravro (1982, repr. 1996), M. A. Smith (1983), A. P. Bartinique (1992, repr. 1998), M. Fish (1997 and 1999), M. A. Hewitt (2001), and K. W. Tucker (2010).