UK/USA (1905-1976)

Robsjohn-Gibbings worked briefly as a naval architect, designing passenger ship interiors, and as art director for a film company. In 1929, he moved to New-York, where he sold Elizabethan and Jacobean furniture and linen-fold panels. In 1936 Robsjohn-Gibbings opened an office in New-York with a Show-room at 515 Madison Avenue. Culling ideas from his own portfolio of hundreds of drawings, he decorated his showroom with Greek models, mosaic-floor reproductions, and sparse furnishings. His clients included Doris Duke, Mrs. Otto Kahn, and Thelma Chrysler Foy. Devoted to historicist design, Robsjohn-Gibbings considered Modern Art a fraud, saying so in his book Mona Lisa’s Moustache: a dissection of Modern Art (1947). Robsjohn-Gibbings’s two most important projects were houses in Bel Air and Santa Barbara, California. The 1938 “Casa Encatada” house of Mrs. J.O. Weber in Bel Air had neutral rooms with a decidedly classical influence. In 1942 Terence H. Robsjohn-Gibbings designed a shocking living room with pale blue walls, fuchsia cushions, violet chairs and dark-gray sofa. His design ideas were widely emulated. In 1943, he designed a range of furniture for John Widdicomb of Grand Rapids, Michigan, and worked there until 1956. In 1960, Robsjohn-Gibbings met Greek cabinetmakers Susan and Eleftheriors Saridis and created a line of classical Greek furniture still in production by Saridis. He was effective in promoting Modern furniture and interiors, although the rejected Bauhaus forms and models. Influenced by his work, Charles Pfister’s 1990 furniture collection produced by Baker was dedicated to Robsjohn-Gibbings.