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Greta Magnusson (1906-1999) maintained a prolific forty-year career, which began in Europe and ended in America. Having completed her fellowship in Sweden, she opened Studio, a combined store and workshop in 1933, setting the first year of her career which would come to encompass industrial design, interior design and architecture. During the same year Magnusson married jazz musician, Billy Grossman, became Greta Magnusson Grossman and later emigrated to the United States, settling in Los Angeles.

Grossman’s most notable pieces carried the brand names of Ralph O. Smith and Glenn of California, in lighting and furniture products respectively. In lighting, the most iconic designs would be the Grasshopper (1947) and Cobra (1949) lamps, which displayed the influence of European Modernism and Bauhaus in her design aesthetic.

 

Her walnut and iron desk, circa 1952 for Glenn of California, is an excellent example of Grossman’s ability to mix heavy materials with uniquely petite proportions and asymmetrical lines, resulting in playfully sophisticated, yet functional products that seem weightless.

 

Although Grossman abruptly withdrew from the design world in the 1960s, her most iconic designs still today reflect the unique and fertile period of mid-century Los Angeles. Today, Grossman’s unique, modern classic designs are highly collectible and are sold at auctions around the world beyond also being available for purchase in stores like Gubi.

 

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