Gustav Stickley (American, Osceola, Wisconsin 1858–1942 Syracuse, New York)
Made in New York, New York, United States
H. 30 in. (76.2 cm); Diam. 55 in. (139.7 cm)
Gift of Cyril Farny, in memory of his wife, Phyllis Holt Farny, 1976
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 743
Gustav Stickley, a leading designer and proselytizer of the American Arts and Crafts movement, founded the Craftsman Workshops (called United Crafts before 1904) to manufacture his line of furniture. Simply designed for ease of manufacture, Craftsman furniture was modestly priced to appeal to the average American. The emphasis on structural elements in this hexagonal oak table, such as the massive tenon-and-key joints attaching each leg to the overlapping stretchers and the bold, circular tacks securing the leather top, is typical of early Stickley designs. The November 1902 issue of "The Craftsman," a periodical promoting the Arts and Crafts movement published by Stickley between 1901 and 1916, illustrated this type of table. By 1904 Stickley sales catalogues offered it as "Library Table Number 625" with either a wood or leather top for $41.50 or $58.50, respectively. Of the several types of Stickley hexagonal tables, this six-legged model with stacked stretchers is relatively rare today, despite the fact that it was offered in Stickley catalogues until at least 1909. This table belonged to Stickley and was among the furnishings of Craftsman Farms, the home he built in Morris Plains, New Jersey between 1908 and 1910. The November 1911 issue of "The Craftsman" illustrated the table in front of the hearth in the long living room of the house. The association of this table, and the cabinet, 1976.389.2, with Craftsman Farms has led to the assumption that it was made especially for that house. The presence of a decal of Stickley’s mark used only for a short time in 1902 and 1903 on the underside of the tabletop, however, dates this table to the early years of Stickley's career. Moreover, a floor plan of Stickley’s previous home in Syracuse, New York, was published in the February 1903 issue of "The Craftsman" and featured such a hexagonal table in the center of the living room. This information, along with the date of the decal, strongly suggests that Stickley brought this table with him when he moved from his Syracuse residence to Craftsman Farms in 1911. Stickley filed for bankruptcy in 1915. This table, along with other furnishings, was sold with the house in 1917 to Major and Mrs. George Farny, whose descendants occupied the house until 1976.
Inscription: red decal on underside of table top: Als / ik / kan [surrounded by a joiner's compass]; Stickley [in script within a rectangle into which compass points terminate]
Gustav Stickley, Syracuse, New York, and Morris Plains, New Jersey, until 1917; Major George and Sylvia Wurlitzer Farny and their descendants, Morris Plains, New Jersey, 1917 -before 1976; Cyril Farny, Morris Plains, New Jersey, until 1976