Furniture is needed for practical reasons, and because it must be there, it may as well be as pleasant as possible to look at, and in a less definable psychological way, comforting to the spirit.

Edward Wormley

The Collection of John M. Hall

John M. Hall was an architectural photographer for publications including New York Times Magazine, Elle Decor and Architectural Digest; he saw his work as "telling the story" of what architects built and his process was to "go from the overall to the the details," with a keen eye for the subtleties of line, form, light and shadow. Hall lived with art and design that reflected his refined sensibilities: simple, livable furniture by Eames, Knoll and Aalto, the clean lines and smooth surfaces of 1930s streamlined moderne lamps, china and glassware and minimalist works on paper by Robert Mangold and Richard Serra. Tucked into a small Manhattan apartment, Hall's collection shows the ease with which iconic 20th century designs were meant to be lived with.

John M. Hall photographed his apartment in the Flatiron district for an article highlighting
his collection in the June 1999 issue of House Beautiful

Hall grew up in North Carolina and studied architecture at North Carolina State University; he was also a ballet dancer and moved to New York in the mid-1970s to study at the American Ballet Theater School. In 1977, Hall relocated to Paris and worked as a model. It was during this time that he developed an interest in black and white photography. 

Thank God I missed post-modernism. I guess I'm just a classicist at heart. 
—John M. Hall

His structural, classical style was informed by photographers such as André Kertész and Walker Evans. Hall returned to New York in 1981 and began his career as an architectural photographer, with a particular interest in private gardens, Greek Revival and Biedermeier. He approached capturing these spaces as making "something that is more than just a document, [but] something that is visually exciting." 

The same is true of Hall's personal collection, with its attention to and exuberance for designs that are "clean and clear and simple as possible," while also still captivating. After Hall's passing in 2019, significant contributions from his collection were gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Yale University Art Gallery and his alma mater's Gregg Museum of Art and Design; the present selection of works celebrates Hall's sophisticated and gracious eye for design.

I'm not a design historian. I'm attracted to objects because I find them interesting and, yes, beautiful. And that's where this 20th-century sensibility started for me. There's just something so right about it.

John M. Hall

An Interview with John M. Hall

An interview with Hall from the 1980s shows him on location photographing a home and sharing his philosophies on design, architecture and photography.
 


Edward Wormley 1907–1995

Born in rural Illinois in 1907, Edward Wormley’s interest in design originated early in life and led him to later study at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Due to financial reasons, Wormley dropped out after 2 years and began his first job in an interior design studio before joining the Indiana-based Dunbar Furniture Company where he served as director of design for nearly 40 years.

Following World War II, Wormley became an independent consultant branching out to design textiles, globe stands, and showrooms. He designed award winning collections for Drexel Furniture Company and was included in the Good Design shows of the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Characteristic of his design elements were functional engineering, decorative laminated plywood, and unconventional upholstery.

Wormley characteristically honored aesthetic qualities, following influences of Scandinavian modernism, while maintaining utilitarian qualities and “designing for the needs” of others. His work is timeless and of the highest quality. Wormley died in 1995, but his legacy is celebrated in collections including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the Museum of Decorative Arts in Montreal.

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Auction Results Edward Wormley

EDWARD WORMLEY, Important slide archive from the estate of Edward Wormley | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Important slide archive from the estate of Edward Wormley
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $38,400

EDWARD WORMLEY, Rare bench, model 4871 | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Rare bench, model 4871
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $35,000

EDWARD WORMLEY, Alexandria chairs model 6004, set of six | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Alexandria chairs model 6004, set of six
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $28,800

EDWARD WORMLEY, Janus occasional table, model 6047 | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Janus occasional table, model 6047
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $27,500

EDWARD WORMLEY, Listen-To-Me chaise, model #4873 | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Listen-To-Me chaise, model #4873
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $25,200

EDWARD WORMLEY, Tete-a-Tete | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Tete-a-Tete
estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $24,000

EDWARD WORMLEY, Listen-To-Me chaise, model #4873 | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Listen-To-Me chaise, model #4873
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $22,800

EDWARD WORMLEY, dining chairs model 4592, set of sixteen | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

dining chairs model 4592, set of sixteen
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $22,500

EDWARD WORMLEY, Janus occasional table, model 5633 | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Janus occasional table, model 5633
estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $21,250

EDWARD WORMLEY, Janus occasional tables model 5633, pair | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Janus occasional tables model 5633, pair
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $21,250

EDWARD WORMLEY, bookcases model 5264, pair | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

bookcases model 5264, pair
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $20,480

EDWARD WORMLEY, sofa | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

sofa
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $20,000

EDWARD WORMLEY, wall-mounted console | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

wall-mounted console
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $20,000

EDWARD WORMLEY, Janus occasional table, model 6047 | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Janus occasional table, model 6047
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $18,750

EDWARD WORMLEY, sofa | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

sofa
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $18,750

EDWARD WORMLEY, sofa | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

sofa
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $18,750

EDWARD WORMLEY, Janus occasional tables model 5633, pair | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Janus occasional tables model 5633, pair
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $18,750

EDWARD WORMLEY, rare bookcases model 5264, pair | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

rare bookcases model 5264, pair
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $18,750

EDWARD WORMLEY, Alexandria chairs model 6004, set of six | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Alexandria chairs model 6004, set of six
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $17,500

EDWARD WORMLEY, occasional table, model #5633 | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

occasional table, model #5633
estimate: $8,000–10,000
result: $16,800

EDWARD WORMLEY, Mr. and Mrs. chests, models #4723 and #4724 | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Mr. and Mrs. chests, models #4723 and #4724
estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $16,800

EDWARD WORMLEY, Snack tables model 479, pair | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

Snack tables model 479, pair
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $16,800

EDWARD WORMLEY, armchairs model 5480, set of six | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

armchairs model 5480, set of six
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $16,250

EDWARD WORMLEY, dining chairs, set of eight | wright20.com

Edward Wormley

dining chairs, set of eight
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $16,250