Arts and Crafts Designer Charles Rohlfs Focal Point of Weekly LiveAuctionTalk.com Column Rosemary McKittrick is a storyteller. She focuses on the history behind the stuff. Visit the site. Sign up for a free weekly subscription.
News-Antique.com - Mar 26,2009 - March 25, 2009 -- In an attic above a bicycle shop in Buffalo, New York, Charles Rohlfs designed arts and crafts furniture at the turn-of-the-century. With an actor’s imposing voice he told visiting reporters one day his designs were matchless.
Rohlfs was almost as skilled at self- promotion as he was furniture design and building. He was also right. He stood firm in his design vision and ultimately it paid off.
His work was the spirit of today blended with the poetry of the medieval ages. That’s how Rohlfs described the style.
Like stone sculpture his small tables, elongated chairs, desks, storage chests, cabinets, sideboards, and long-case clocks were one of a kind pieces.
Rohlfs’s career was brief. In business for less than 10 years he produced no more than a few hundred pieces of furniture. So, his work is rare.
One Dec, 7, Treadway/Toomey Galleries, featured several pieces of Rohlfs’s furniture in its 20th Century Art & Design auction in Oak Park, Ill. Here are some current values.
Bellows; leather; finely carved form signed and dated 1902; original finish; original brass nozzle; 33 inches by 6.5 inches; $3,900.
Table; trefoil top with pierced and carved design; refinished; unsigned; 19 inches high; $5,700.
Chair; iconic form with intricate carved and pierced design at back with organic motif; original finish; signed; 57 ½ inches high; $54,000.
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