A Herman Miller advertisement in the November 1959 issue of Arts & Architecture features a selection of miniature cabinets designed by George Nelson & Associates.

A Life Lived with Herman Miller

The Collection of Betty Gorecki

Betty Gorecki's husband Richard worked for Herman Miller from the mid-1950s to the late 1960s—a defining era in the company's history, when the designs of Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson and Alexander Girard changed the look of modern American design. 

Richard Gorecki was a traveling salesman that worked for the interiors department, consulting offices on furnishing their spaces with the adaptable and optimistic furniture and textiles that would become iconic of the era. Betty, a hairstylist who owned a salon, fell in love with the modern designs of Herman Miller and outfitted their home with the colorful and inviting aesthetic (even making custom curtains and pillows out of Girard fabrics). 

Art is only art if it is synonymous with living.

Alexander Girard

Along with classic Herman Miller designs, Betty also decorated her home with items purchased from Girard's Textile & Objects shop, including the delightful handmade dolls of Marilyn Neuhart and folk art from South America. This collection also features Herman Miller Summer Picnic posters by Stephen Frykholm, timeless Nelson and Eames furniture, and Girard works ranging from an important collection of over six hundred fabric samples to his good-humored Environmental Enrichment panels.

Though Betty and Richard divorced in the early 1970s, Betty continued to live with these designs, seamlessly integrating their ease, optimism and resilience into her home and life for over forty years—just as Eames, Nelson and Girard had hoped they would be.

What makes a design unique, original, inventive, imaginative, and compelling? What are those attributes that really make your design really stand out amongst the crowd? I think the dimensionality comes from the person designing it, if that makes any sense. The design has to have presence.

Stephen Frykholm

ALEXANDER GIRARD, House wall-hanging | wright20.com

334

Alexander Girard

House wall-hanging

estimate: $1,000–1,500
result: $2,250
ALEXANDER GIRARD, ottoman, model 66332 | wright20.com

312

Alexander Girard

ottoman, model 66332

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $11,875
CHARLES AND RAY EAMES, sofa, model 3473 | wright20.com

315

Charles and Ray Eames

sofa, model 3473

estimate: $1,500–2,000
result: $3,000
STEPHEN FRYKHOLM, Herman Miller Rainbow posters, set of five | wright20.com

347

Stephen Frykholm

Herman Miller Rainbow posters, set of five

estimate: $200–300
result: $780
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, DAF chairs, set of four | wright20.com

306

George Nelson & Associates

DAF chairs, set of four

estimate: $3,000–5,000
result: $2,750
ALEXANDER GIRARD, Important collection of fabric samples | wright20.com

323

Alexander Girard

Important collection of fabric samples

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $18,750
CHARLES AND RAY EAMES, RAR | wright20.com

322

Charles and Ray Eames

RAR

estimate: $700–900
result: $1,125
MARILYN NEUHART, collection of four dolls | wright20.com

314

Marilyn Neuhart

collection of four dolls

estimate: $2,000–3,000
result: $2,250

The steady movement [throughout the design process] is in the direction of a solution that is ultimately seen, not as beautiful, but as appropriate. The creation of beauty cannot be an aim; beauty is one of the aspects of appropriateness, and it stills lies pretty much in the eye of the beholder, which makes it a byproduct rather than a goal.

George Nelson

George Nelson & Associates

Born in Hartford, Connecticut in 1908, George Nelson studied architecture at Yale University, teaching for a short time before the Great Depression. In 1932, he won the Rome Prize and spent the next two years studying design in Italy. Returning to the states, Nelson sold his essays to Pencil Points and became an associate editor at Architecture Forum and Fortune magazine. After reading Nelson’s innovative book Tomorrow's House, then president of Herman Miller furniture company D.J. De Pree hired Nelson as design director. Nelson launched his first collection in 1947 and transformed the struggling company into a groundbreaking leader in the field. Nelson remained at Herman Miller until the mid-1960s, and was responsible for bringing Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard and Isamu Noguchi on board.

In 1947, Nelson opened his own design studio, George Nelson Associates, Inc. which at one time employed over seventy people. The company’s work within corporate settings revolutionized the concept of branding and elevated industrial design to new heights. Throughout his career, Nelson continued to write critically about design across multiple planes, teaching and consulting until his death in 1986.

Auction Results George Nelson & Associates

GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Rare and important Marshmallow Sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Rare and important Marshmallow Sofa

estimate: $50,000–70,000
result: $112,500
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Comprehensive Storage System | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Comprehensive Storage System

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $36,750
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Thin Edge end tables, pair | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Thin Edge end tables, pair

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $34,800
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, custom jewelry chest | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

custom jewelry chest

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $33,600
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow Sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow Sofa

estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $30,420
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow sofa, model #5670 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow sofa, model #5670

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $27,600
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, custom wall clock, model #2237 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

custom wall clock, model #2237

estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $24,000
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, miniature chest, model #5511 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

miniature chest, model #5511

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $24,000
GEORGE NELSON, Marshmallow sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson

Marshmallow sofa

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $20,700
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow sofa

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $20,000
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Carousel weather vane | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Carousel weather vane

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $20,000
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow sofa, model 5670 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow sofa, model 5670

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $20,000
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Whirlygig clock, model 2268 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Whirlygig clock, model 2268

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $18,600
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, miniature cabinet | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

miniature cabinet

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $18,200
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, table clock, model 2208 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

table clock, model 2208

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $18,000
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, jewelry cabinet, model #5211 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

jewelry cabinet, model #5211

estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $17,700
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Watermelon table clock, model 2219-B | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Watermelon table clock, model 2219-B

estimate: $6,000–8,000
result: $17,700
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Marshmallow sofa | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Marshmallow sofa

estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $17,500
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Clocknik table clock, model 2270 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Clocknik table clock, model 2270

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $17,500
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Rare Five Leaf chairs from the 1964 New York World's Fair, pair | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Rare Five Leaf chairs from the 1964 New York World's Fair, pair

estimate: $8,000–10,000
result: $17,500
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Comprehensive Storage System (CSS) | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Comprehensive Storage System (CSS)

estimate: $5,000–7,000
result: $16,250
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Watermelon table clock, model 2219B | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Watermelon table clock, model 2219B

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $16,250
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, chaise lounge, model #5490 | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

chaise lounge, model #5490

estimate: $7,000–9,000
result: $15,600
GEORGE NELSON & ASSOCIATES, Comprehensive Storage System (CSS) | wright20.com

George Nelson & Associates

Comprehensive Storage System (CSS)

estimate: $9,000–12,000
result: $15,600