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 Stickley, 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. His practice changed significantly after he learned the philosophy of masters John Ruskin and William Morris. In 1898 he visited them in Great Britain. In 1900, Stickley founded Craftsmen Farms in upstate New York, and the following year began publishing The Craftsman magazine, the first two issues of which were devoted to the ideas of Ruskin and Morris.  In 1915, Stickley filed for bankruptcy. In 1916 he stopped publishing The Craftsman, and in 1917 he sold Craftsmen’s Farms. Gustav Stickley died on April 21, 1942. He is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Syracuse, New York.

Craftsman Farms

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About his style

Stickley designed and manufactured furniture primarily from native American oak. All his furniture was made by hand, not on machine tools, made simple and convenient. He strove to make durable, simple designs and avoided ornate late Victorian items. He emphasized the joinery elements, the upholstery was done in canvas and leather (natural materials). It became known as the Mission style. Stickley’s designs have been featured in prestigious furniture exhibitions in Grand Rapids and Pan America.

Catalogue of craftsman furniture made by Gustav Stickley at The Craftsman Workshops, Eastwood, N.Y. 1909

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Settee, manufactured by Craftsman Workshops, 1905

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