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Greta Grossman for Glenn of California

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Beautiful dresser designed by Greta M. Grossman for Glenn of California in the United States circa 1950s. This elegant dresser is comprised of walnut and features 6 dovetailed drawers in solid oak. Each drawer features Gretta Grossman's signature round metal pulls which contrast beautifully against the intricate walnut wood grain.  

Dimensions: 64.75 L x 18 W x 32.5 H 

About the designer: 

"Greta Magnusson Grossman (1906-99) was a prize-winning decorator and furniture designer throughout the 1930s in Stockholm, but she left her native Sweden in 1940. Settling in Los Angeles, she opened a Rodeo Drive studio, designed for the landmark Barker Bros. store, built modernist homes and crafted innovative furniture and lighting. Yet by the late 1960s, Grossman had fallen into obscurity -- as enigmatic as her fellow compatriot and one time client Greta Garbo.

“She was a major player in the 1940s and ‘50s, a media darling pictured alongside Charles Eames and Isamu Noguchi, and poof, she disappears,” said Evan Snyderman, the furniture dealer and co-owner of R 20th Century in New York, the gallery that acquired Grossman’s archives and sells vintage Grossman pieces. “She walked away from the world of design, built a home in San Diego and started painting landscapes.”

The broad appeal of Grossman’s work has its roots in Stockholm, where in the 1930s she had exposure to the Bauhaus movement and International Style architects such as Le Corbusier. In Los Angeles, she joined European immigrants including Paul László and Paul Frankl, whose work bridged the gap between Art Deco and Midcentury Modern. 

Grossman was able to fuse her Scandinavian sensibility with new Golden State materials and technologies.

“California gave her the freedom and skilled craftspeople to design and live in a modern way,” Snyderman said, adding that Grossman was a sixth-generation woodworker who apprenticed as a carpenter and studied ceramics, textiles and other crafts. 

“As a designer, she was always shaking things up and was a major force in defining California modernism,” he said. Among her signatures: chair seats and backrests that seem to float above sculptural bases, and asymmetrical tables that balance on iron legs with wooden ball feet.

“The old idea that women are not good at mechanical work is stuff and nonsense,” Grossman once said. “The only advantage a man has in furniture designing is his greater physical strength.” 

Although she came from the European tradition of Modernism, Greta Grossman thought about whole room environments and was an early proponent of creating collections of furniture that work with one another. 

Aside from custom kidney-shaped sofas she designed for Brown Saltman and Barker Bros., O’Brien said, some of Grossman’s most coveted works are pieces from her 1952 collection for Glenn of California. It was called the 62 Series because company owner Bob Baron deemed it 10 years ahead of its time. Grossman freely mixed materials, putting scorch-proof Formica tops -- new at the time -- on walnut tables, dressers and desks.

“The pieces were made to order,” Snyderman said. “And they were not produced in great quantities, which is why they continue to appreciate in value.”

By David Keeps writing for the L.A. Times