For a few years around 1900 journalists made pilgrimages to a barely marked furniture workshop in an attic over a bicycle factory in Buffalo. The workshop’s owner, a charismatic former actor named Charles Rohlfs (1853-1936), feigned some modesty in his dusty garret. But then he convinced the visiting reporters that his “artistic furniture” had no precedents or peers, only imitators.
The writers gushed over his square-framed oak pieces with sinuous carvings. “Never have art and utility been joined more skillfully than in these chairs and tables and desks,” wrote one in The Buffalo Daily Courier. The German magazine Dekorative Kunst described Mr. Rohlfs as “inventive and uninfluenced,” and Furniture Journal declared him a main inspiration for the far more famous and prolific designer Gustav Stickley.
Charles Rohlfs’s Theatrical Furniture to Go on the Road Eve M. Kahn New York Times 8/28/08
Call Number: NK2439.R64 A4X 2008 (LC) Oversize