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 John Dickinson  (1920 - 1982)

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Lived/Active: California/New York      Known for: furniture design and decoration

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Biography from Rago Arts and Auction:
Born in Berkely, California in 1920, John Dickinson went on to study at
New York’s Parsons School of Design.  There, he studied under Van
Day Truex and Albert Hadley.

His career burgeoned in the 1950s with decorating assignments from Lord & Taylor, the W. & J. Sloane furniture company, and a host of interior designers. In 1956 he opened a design firm in San Fransisco before moving to his Pacific Heights residence and studio in 1965.

Drawing on the earlier work of Jean Michel Frank and T.H.
Robsjohn-Gibbings, Dickinson created stark, sleek, minimalist
furniture.  His particular design aesthetic blended African and
Etruscan designs with classical forms.  His work was neutral in
color, often white or beige, and reflected his preference for
monochromatic interiors in which the furniture forms could be
emphasized over superfluous color treatments, which he felt were too
often used to hide design flaws. His work was also a nod to British interior
decorator Syrie Maugham who became famous in the 20's and 30's for her
all-white or one-color interiors.

In 1965, Dickinson produced a series of pieces for the Drexel Furniture Company’s Et Cetera line, including furniture with trompe l’oeil decoration.
 Dickinson is perhaps most known for his work from the mid-70s, when he employed the techniques “faux bois” to create white plaster objects more typically made in wood.

Some of these iconic works include a three-legged African stool and galvanized tin-drapped tables, many retailed by the San Francisco department store, I. Magnin. In 1978, Dickinson designed a series of tables, chairs, and lamps with wood feet carved in the shape of animal bones as part of a commission for Macy's department store. Dickinson died in 1982.(1)

1. Jeffrey Head. "John Dickinson" in eds. Todd Merrill and Julie Iovine, Modern Americana. New York: Rizzoli, 2008. pgs. 228-236

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