Desk, Charles Rohlfs

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Desk, Charles Rohlfs

Desk (Model #500), Charles Rohlfs (1853 - 1936), Buffalo, New York, c. 1899-1901.

White oak with iron hardware; height 56 1/4, width 25 1/2, depth 24 inches.


Dallas Museum of Art, anonymous gift.


After a faded acting career, Charles Rohlfs began making furniture about 1887, and later opened a small workshop in Buffalo, New York, in part to decorate the house he shared with his wife, the novelist Anna Katharine Green.


This drop–front desk by Rohlf’s, which rotates and swivels on its footed base,  was paired with a chair and called the “Graceful Writing Set.” Rohlfs generally made only a few examples of his furniture designs; the desk and chair in this set were the only pieces he produced in significant numbers.


In what he termed his "artistic furniture,"  Rohlfs is one of the few American furniture makers to successfully embrace the art nouveau style, seen here in sinuous carved scrolls and tendrils that form finials on the top of the desk and accent the hardware on the drop front panel.

At Auction

Recently a rare hall chair made by Rolhfs sold for a record price of $198,000. The seller, who was living in a trailer at the time of the auction, had found the piece in a neighbor's trash more than ten years ago.

Porcelain Tray

Estimate: $150 - $300 (FMV)

Listed By: Stephanie Retz

Location: Providence, RI

Estimate By: Jorge Luis González

The thick potting, simple decoration, small size and deep shape of the tray would indicate late 18th or early 19th century continental manufacture.

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