Pioneering Female Designer: Greta Magnusson Grossman

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“The easiest way to show what you can do is to do it on your own,” proclaimed pioneering female designer Greta Magnusson Grossman. Grossman was active crafting iconic modern designs from the 1920s through the 1960s, which will be exhibited on the lower level of 64 White Street in Greta Magnusson Grossman: Modern Makes Sense from 26 June through 22 August 2019.

The Swedish-born designer emigrated to Southern California in 1940 and that same year set up  a much-publicized shop in Beverly Hills, attracting celebrity clients like Greta Garbo, Joan Fontaine, and Gracie Allen.  Grossman’s most enduring work in Los Angeles came in the form of her built architectural commissions. Between 1949 and 1959 Grossman designed at least fourteen homes in Los Angeles, one in San Francisco, and one back in her native Sweden.

“In 1941 there would have been very little Scandinavian design that had been introduced to the American public,” says R & Company co-founder Evan Snyderman. “Of practicing female architects working on her level we find very few…In many cases Grossman designed with a professional woman such as herself in mind. In fact, many of Grossman’s architectural clients were single professional women, certainly not a commonplace demographic at that time.”

“As a woman and émigré in the American design field, Grossman was a fiercely independent pioneer and master navigator of many design collaborations, professional relationships, and running her own business in a milieu that has been traditionally male-dominated and fraught with gender disparity,” explains our Director of Archives and Publications Michelle Jackson-Beckett who acts as the steward of Grossman’s extensive design archive. “In Modern Makes Sense, we continue to tell her incredible story and uncover new inspiration from her work and archive.”

The R & Company Archives is open to the public by appointment. To make an appointment or book a complimentary informational tour please contact archives@r-and-company.com.