Electric clock

Gilbert Rohde (American, New York 1894–1944 New York)
The Herman Miller Furniture Company, Zeeland, MI
ca. 1933
Chrome-plated metal, glass
12 1/8 x 12 1/2 x 3 1/2 in. (30.8 x 31.8 x 8.9 cm)
Credit Line:
John C. Waddell Collection, Gift of John C. Waddell, 2000
Accession Number:
Rights and Reproduction:
© Herman Miller Inc.
Not on view
Rohde was known primarily as a furniture maker whose progressive designs were produced by well-known manufacturers such as Heywood Wakefield, Troy Sunshade, John Widdicomb, Herman Miller, and Thonet. In 1932 and 1933 he created a series of clocks for the Herman Miller Clock Company that were remarkable for their daringly advanced designs. The transparent glass face of this example is suspended in front of a chromed diagonal support, its sharp angle abstractly reinforcing a sense of dynamic motion. The "numerals"--slashes of white--seem to float on the clear glass surface, highlighting the sharp, dominant black hour hand. The color scheme of black, red, and silver and the use of sleek materials such as chrome and glass typify the kind of furnishings that complemented luxury interiors of the 1930s. Although most people were struggling to make ends meet during the decade-long Great Depression, the elegant penthouse atop a skyscraper apartment building represented a privileged fantasy world that dominated Hollywood movie sets as well as designs for luxury city dwellings created by the most contemporary architects and designers.
John C. Waddell, New York (by 1999–2000; his gift to MMA)

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 16, 2000–January 7, extended to February 4, 2001, unnumbered cat. (p. 143).

Newport Beach, Calif. Orange County Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 25–August 19, 2001, unnumbered cat.

Flint, Mich. Flint Institute of Arts. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," September 14–December 16, 2001, unnumbered cat.

Philadelphia. Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," January 11–April 7, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Charlotte, N. C. Mint Museum of Craft and Design. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," May 3–July 28, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Tulsa, Okla. Philbrook Museum of Art. "American Modern, 1925–1940: Design for a New Age," August 23–November 17, 2002, unnumbered cat.

Herman Miller Furniture Company. 20th Century Modern Furniture Designed by Gilbert Rohde. Zeeland, Mich., 1934, no. 4090.

Jane Adlin in "Recent Acquisitions. A Selection: 2000–2001." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 59 (Fall 2001), p. 61, ill. (color).

Phyllis Ross. Gilbert Rohde: Modern Design for Modern Living. New Haven, 2009, p. 124, fig. 95 (color).