Swedish-born designer Greta Magnusson Grossman (1906-1999) is probably one of the most under-appreciated talents of the mid-century era. During her prolific career, which spanned forty years on two continents, she achieved success across multiple design platforms including architecture, interior design and industrial design.
Grossman pieces for Glenn of California. Photo: R 20th Century archives
Greta was born in Helsingborg, Sweden in 1906 and attend Konstfack in Stockholm on a scholarship where she studied furniture, textile and ceramic design. During the early 1940's she fled her native Sweden to escape the Nazis, eventually settling in Los Angeles, where her unique approach to Swedish modernism quickly became popular with the press and the celebrity crowd. Though during her career she designed both lighting and furniture for over a dozen companies, her most popular pieces were those she created for Glenn of California (furniture) and Ralph O. Smith (lighting). The furniture she designed for Glenn of California incorporated a perfect combination of wood, metal and Formica (yes Formica); making them some of my favorite pieces from the era. And what mid-century interior would be complete without one of her "Grasshopper" floor lamps, originally produced by Barker Brothers in 1947.
Writing desk, Glenn of California, 1952. via 20th Century Interiors
"Good Design" dining chair, Glenn of California, 1952
3 panel folding screen, Glenn of California, 1952. via Wright
Black laminate and walnut 3-drawer & 1-door cabinet, Glenn of California. via R 20th Century Gallery
3 color wood disk coffee table with wood ball feet, Glenn of California, c. 1950's
"Grasshopper" floor lamp, Ralph O. Smith (originally produced by Barker Brothers), 1947
8- drawer dresser, Glenn of California, c. 1950's. via Farnsworth, San Francisco
Dining table, Glenn of California, 1952. via Wright
Terrazzo 3-disc coffee table, Glenn of California, c. 1950. via Wright
2-tier end table, Glenn of California, c. 1950's
"Cobra" desk lamp, Ralph O. Smith, c. 1948-49. via R 20th Century Gallery
Technical drawing for the "Cobra" desk lamp. via Artdaily
4-drawer dresser with black laminate top, Glenn of California, c. 1950's. via Rago Modern
Drop leaf "spider" table, Glenn of California. via Treadway
"Grasshopper" style desk lamp, c. 1950's. via Mod Haus
"Half Moon" cocktail table, Glenn of California, c. 1952. via R 20th Century Gallery
Greta Magnusson Grossman (1906-1999). Photo: R 20th Century archives.
Go to- Greta's biography page on R 20th Century
Go to- Article about Greta in Home magazine
Go to- Article about Greta's work in The Independent, UK