7476 - 20170205 - Collection of Robsjohn-Gibbings midcentury furniture to be sold - West Palm Beach, FLA - 05.02.2017


T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings custom-made sofa/daybed consisting of three sectional pieces plus a bolster pillow. The ensemble is depicted in situ in the book ‘Mr. Tom Davis, White Shadows, Palm Springs,’ page 17. Est. $5,000-$10,000

Terence Harold Robsjohn-Gibbings (1905-1976) was a British-born architect and furniture designer who left an indelible mark on midcentury modern furniture and decorative objects. His designs of the 1950s and ’60s infused Ancient Grecian and Art Deco elements to create a trademark brand of modern historicism.
In the late 1930s and 1940s, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings, as he preferred to be known, was the most important interior designer in America. After opening a shop on New York’s Madison Avenue in 1936, he started doing commissioned work and created distinctive decors for fine houses from coast to coast. His private clients included tobacco heiress Doris Duke, publisher Alfred A. Knopf, and patron of the arts Thelma Chrysler Foy.

One of his best-known residential commissions was Casa Encantada in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Bel Air. Creating more than 200 pieces of furniture for the house between 1934 and 1938, Robsjohn-Gibbings indulged his passion for Greco-Roman design by incorporating sphinxes, dolphins, lions' paw feet, and Ionic columns in table bases, torchères, and select pieces of furniture. With the context of this grandeur, he still managed to keep the interior design simple and elegant.

Another of Robsjohn-Gibbings’ premier commissions was White Shadows, a mid-century residence custom-built in Rancho Mirage, California, for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Davis.

Heralded both for its palatial splendor and luxurious simplicity, White Shadows was the subject of a major spread in the November 1958 issue of House Beautiful magazine. “Complete harmony in the living areas evokes the emotion of serenity…(and a) romantic aura,” wrote the article’s author, Curtis Besinger.

“Undoubtedly, much of that description was attributable to Robsjohn-Gibbings’ innovative choices of colors and fabrics for his trend-setting furniture designs,” said Rico Baca, co-owner of Palm Beach Modern Auctions. On Sunday, Feb. 5, Baca’s company will auction an unprecedented, absolutely unique collection of 16 original T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings furnishings created expressly for White Shadows.

The collection includes two pairs of monumental floor lamps, each having three tiers of globed lights. Each lamp will be auctioned separately with a $10,000-$20,000 estimate. The designer’s quintessential mid-century sofa/daybed consisting of three upholstered walnut pieces that can be arranged in several configurations is estimated at $5,000-$10,000. Additionally, there are armchairs, benches, nightstands, headboards/footboards, a dresser/cabinet with mirror, and both occasional and end tables.

“Robsjohn-Gibbings furniture has become extremely collectible, especially the pieces he designed for special commissions,” Baca said. “There has already been a tremendous amount of interest in the auction items from bidders all over the country.”

The Sunday, Feb. 5 auction will begin at 12:00 noon Eastern Time, with Internet live bidding through LiveAuctioneers. The exhibition center and auction venue is located at 417 Bunker Rd., West Palm Beach, FL 33405.