Gustav Stickley (1858-1942)

Probably the best-known American Designer associated with the Arts and Crafts movement, Gustav Stickley was a “mission-style” furniture maker.

Photo of Gustav (1923) in balck and white: He is dresseed in a suite with a bow tie, and he appears to have a stern look on his face.
Photo of Gustav (1923)

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About His Life

Gustav Stickley was born in Wisconsin in 1858. He started working in his uncle’s chair factory in Pennsylvania, where he made Victorian-style furniture. Yet, his practice changed significantly after he learned the philosophy of masters John Ruskin and William Morris, who he visited in Great Britain. Then, in 1900, Stickley founded Craftsmen Farms in upstate New York, and the following year began publishing The Craftsman magazine. The first two issues were devoted to the ideas of Ruskin and Morris. In 1915, he filed for bankruptcy. In 1916, he stopped publishing The Craftsman, and soon he sold Craftsmen’s Farms. He died on April 21, 1942, and is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, New York.

Main house at Craftsman Farms in Parsippany- Gustav Stickley.
Main house at Craftsman Farms in Parsippany

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About His Style

Stickley designed and manufactured furniture primarily from Native American oak. He created all his furniture by hand, which was simple and convenient. He strove to make durable, simple designs and avoided ornate Late-Victorian items. Additionally, he emphasized the joinery elements, as the upholstery was canvas and leather (natural materials). This became known as the Mission style. His designs are in prestigious furniture exhibitions in Grand Rapids and Pan America.

Gustave Stickley Rocker: A dark wood rocking chair with a white cushion.
Stickley Rocker

Image source: by VasenkaPhotography

Adjustable-Back Chair No. 2342 (1900): photo of a comfy-looking chair with large arms and a orange leather cushion.
Adjustable-Back Chair No. 2342 (1900)

Image source:,__Stickley,_1900-1904_-_IMG_1632.JPG

Lantern, Model No. 766.
Lantern, Model No. 766

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Info sources:–the-american-a-127060

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