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.
 


T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings 1905–1976

Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings was born in England in 1905. While studying architecture at the University of London, Robsjohn-Gibbings was fascinated by the restrained elegance of Greek and Roman art, so he often spent his spare time wandering the galleries of the British Museum. In 1929, he moved to New York where he worked for famed tastemaker Charles Duveen before establishing a career as an independent interior designer in 1936. In 1938, Harper’s Bazaar stated that Robsjohn-Gibbings felt that “the modern should stem from the very ancient,” as he believed that furniture should be steeped in the symmetry and rationality of Greek design. In 1946, Robsjohn-Gibbings had the chance to make his ideals manifest when he was invited to design a line of furniture for Widdicomb Furniture Company. His furniture line was hailed as a triumph by House Beautiful, and his design for a butler’s table was featured in the landmark Good Design exhibit of 1951 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

In addition to working as an interior designer, Robsjohns-Gibbings was also an astute critic of design culture in America and he was noted for his humorous novels like Goodbye, Mr. Chippendale, which poked fun at the American craze for all things antique in interior design. During the 1960s, Robsjohn-Gibbings moved to Athens, the birthplace of classicism, and his apartment overlooked the Parthenon. While living in Greece, Robsjohn-Gibbings designed interiors for both Aristotle Onassis and the Niarchos family. Robsjohn-Gibbings passed away in 1976. He left behind a legacy of classically-derived forms, and his elegant works reside in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, among many others.

Learn More

Auction Results T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Important and Rare Mesa table | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Important and Rare Mesa table
estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $143,000

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, important Mesa coffee table, model 1760-6 | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

important Mesa coffee table, model 1760-6
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $106,250

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Griffin console from the Casa Encantada | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Griffin console from the Casa Encantada
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $96,000

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Mesa coffee table, model 1760 | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Mesa coffee table, model 1760
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $87,500

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Mesa table, model #1760-6 | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Mesa table, model #1760-6
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $54,000

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, dining table, model no. 149 | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

dining table, model no. 149
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $43,750

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Mesa table | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Mesa table
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $36,250

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, lounge chairs model no. 155, pair | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

lounge chairs model no. 155, pair
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $32,500

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Cabinets from Casa Encantada | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Cabinets from Casa Encantada
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $32,500

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, dining chairs model no. 105, set of twelve | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

dining chairs model no. 105, set of twelve
estimate: $25,000–35,000
result: $31,250

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Mesa coffee table | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Mesa coffee table
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $30,000

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Klismos chairs, set of four | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Klismos chairs, set of four
estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $27,600

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, coffee tables model no. 125, pair | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

coffee tables model no. 125, pair
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $27,500

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, console table | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

console table
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $25,200

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Affecter stool | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Affecter stool
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $23,750

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, custom desk | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

custom desk
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $21,600

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, side table from Casa Encantada | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

side table from Casa Encantada
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $21,600

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, custom cabinet for Casa Encantada | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

custom cabinet for Casa Encantada
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $21,240

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, rare Cocktail couch, model 1713-6 | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

rare Cocktail couch, model 1713-6
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $18,750

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Klini chaise, model no. 11 | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Klini chaise, model no. 11
estimate: $10,000–12,000
result: $18,125

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, rare Cocktail couch, model 1713-6 | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

rare Cocktail couch, model 1713-6
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $17,780

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Klini chaise, model no. 11 | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Klini chaise, model no. 11
estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $16,250

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, occasional tables, pair | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

occasional tables, pair
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $15,000

T.H. ROBSJOHN-GIBBINGS, Klismos chairs, pair | wright20.com

T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings

Klismos chairs, pair
estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $15,000