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American Decorative Arts
Designer: Donald Deskey, American, 1894–1989
Maker, workshop of Probably: Schmieg, Hungate and Kotzian, Inc., American, 1924–1933
Maker: Eagle Lock Co.
Retailer: Deskey-Vollmer, Inc., American, 1927–1931



Ebony, probably Macassar ebony, veneer on a core of yellow poplar; one drawer front core wood, chestnut; runner on small curved drawer, ash; drawer bottoms, plywood faced with mahogany on inside and yellow poplar on outside; other elements, mahogany

41 7/8 × 48 3/16 × 19 7/8 in. (106.4 × 122.4 × 50.5 cm)
Gift of Mrs. Arthur D. Berliss, Sr.
The original owners bought this desk from the Deskey-Vollmer showroom for their guest room. The sleek curves accented by brass hardware create a luxurious piece of furniture for Manhattan apartment living. Donald Deskey was a leading industrial designer who helped introduce the modern style to America in the late 1920s. He later designed the interior of Radio City Music Hall, in New York, as well as the Clorox bleach bottle.
Made in New York, New York
On view
20th century

Purchased in 1929 by Mr. and Mrs. Arthur D. Berliss, Sr., for their apartment at 1185 Park Avenue, New York. Gift in 1984 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


“Acquisitions 1984,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 39, no. 3 (Winter 1986): 74, ill.

Richard Guy Wilson, Dianne H. Pilgrim, and Dickran Tashjian, The Machine Age in America, 1918–1941, exh. cat. (New York: Brooklyn Museum of Art, 1986), 282, fig. 8.11.

Gerald W. R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1988), 324–25, no. 171, ill.

Handbook of the Collections, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1992), 97, ill.

John Stuart Gordon et al., A Modern World: American Design from the Yale University Art Gallery, 1920–1950 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2011), 40–41, no. 19.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.