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Alexander Girard

Alexander Girard (UNITED STATES, 1907–93)

The director of design for the textiles department at Herman Miller, Inc., from 1952 to 1973, mid-century modern visionary Alexander Girard introduced bright, bouncy colors to upholstery and drapery fabrics, created jaunty graphics for marketing and advertising materials and devised motifs for everything from textiles to ceramics based on his true love: folk art from cultures around the globe.

The son of an American mother and an Italian father, Girard (known as Sandro to his friends) was born in New York City in 1907 but raised in Florence. He came from a creative family — his father was a master woodworker — and Girard began drawing and making his own playthings as a youngster. He had a fascination for nativity crèche tableaux, an enthusiasm that likely was the germ for his later interest in folk art. He went on to earn degrees in architecture at schools in both Rome and London before returning to New York in the 1930s and working in interior design.

By the 1940s, he and his wife, Susan, had moved to Detroit, where Girard was head of design for Detrola, a firm specializing in tabletop radios. The elegant bentwood housings that he developed for the devices won him acclaim, but, more importantly, at Detrola he met Charles Eames. The two became lifelong friends, and it was Eames who drew Girard toward Herman Miller, which had no dedicated textile department until Girard arrived, and most of its furniture was upholstered in mundane, “safe” hues. Girard changed all that, introducing fabrics in vivid shades of red, orange, yellow and blue. His early designs incorporated geometric motifs — stripes, circles, square, triangles and such. But toward the end of the 1950s he began to introduce folk art themes into his designs.

Girard did not collect important or expensive folk pieces. Rather he was drawn to simple objects such as handmade toys, figurines and models of animals, buildings and plants. The fabrics that emerged had whimsical, lighthearted motifs depicting, for example, angels, children, birds and flowers. Toward the end of his term with Herman Miller, in an effort to achieve what he termed “aesthetic functionalism,” Girard produced a group of what he called “Environmental Enrichment” pieces — silk-screened cotton panels emblazoned with various graphic designs, from bold geometric patterns to folk art themes. They were meant to divide spaces in offices or the home in lieu of walls while simultaneously functioning as art. Today, panels of vintage Girard upholstery textiles have become premium collectibles. The designer's furniture is less well known, primarily because most of it was created for private commissions.

Girard’s most lasting contribution may be his folk art collection. He and Susan had begun gathering pieces shortly after their marriage, in 1936. By the 1970s, they had amassed the world’s largest collection of cross-cultural folk art, composed of more than 100,000 pieces from around the world. The Girards donated their holdings to the Museum of International Folk Art, in Santa Fe (where they had moved in the ’60s), quintupling the institution’s collection, and a new wing — named for the Girards — had to be built to hold it.

Find a striking range of vintage Alexander Girard seating, tables, textiles and other furnishings on 1stDibs.

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Alexander Girard Coffee Table
By Alexander Girard
Located in San Francisco, CA
Cast aluminum coffee table by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller. Aluminum base and Brazilian blue star granite top.
Category

1950s American Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Granite, Aluminum

Maharam Pillow, Toostripe by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Toostripe by Alexander Girard 001 Orange Alexander Girard drew inspiration from his travels to Mexico and India, as well as from his fascination with tradition fold a...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Nylon, Wool

Maharam Pillow, Checker by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Checker by Alexander Girard 008 Black/White Designed by Alexander Girard for the Herman Miller textile division in 1965, checker is a simple checkerboard design offer...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Polyester, Cotton

Maharam Pillow, Palio by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Palio by Alexander Girard 002 Sky Palio by Alexander Girard, 1964 draws its motifs, colors and name from the famous bareback horse race held semi-annually in Siena, I...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Cotton, Nylon

Maharam Pillow, Names by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Names by Alexander Girard 001 Crimson on White In his design work, Alexander Girard repeatedly explored an interest in the characters and symbols that comprise langu...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Cotton, Polyester

Maharam Pillow, Millerstripe by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Millerstripe by Alexander Girard 001 Multicolored Girard drew inspiration from his travels to Mexico and India, as well as from his fascination with traditional folk...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Wool, Nylon

Maharam Pillow, Checker Split by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Checker Split by Alexander Girard 001 Black/White Checker Split exemplifies Alexander Girard’s lifelong exploration of geometric motifs. Designed for the Herman Mill...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Cotton, Polyester

Maharam Pillow, Double Triangles by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Double Triangles by Alexander Girard 001 Black/White Designed by Alexander Girard in 1952 during his tenure as founding director of the Herman Miller Textile Divisio...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Cotton, Polyester

Maharam Pillow, Quatrefoil by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam Pillow Quatrefoil by Alexander Girard 001 Silver Alexander Girard drew inspiration from his world travels, as well as from his fascination with traditional folk art. Quatre...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Cotton, Nylon

Maharam Pillow, Lanalux by Alexander Girard, 1970
By Alexander Girard, Maharam
Located in New York, NY
Maharam pillow Lanalux by Alexander Girard, 1970 002 Umber Exploring texture, fiber variation, and color, Lanalux is a timeless and versatile textile that was originally designed b...
Category

21st Century and Contemporary American Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Wool

Alexander Girard Red Brick Screenprint on Linen, Herman Miller, Wall Hanging
By Herman Miller, Alexander Girard
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Alexander Girard red brick screenprint on linen, Herman Miller, wall hanging. Art is only art when it is synonymous with living,” said Alexander Girard, the director of design for...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Linen

“Geometry” Environmental Enrichment Panel by Alexander Girard, 1971
By Herman Miller, Alexander Girard
Located in BROOKLYN, NY
“Geometry” environmental enrichment panel by Alexander Girard, 1971. This is an original piece designed by Girard for Herman Miller. Showing very little wear and period framed by Tom...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Chrome

Postwar Modern Model 108 Coffee Table by Alexander Girard for Knoll
By Knoll, Alexander Girard
Located in Debrecen-Pallag, HU
The Model 108 coffee table, introduced to the Knoll catalog in 1948, reflects the playful spirit he injected into the often austere modern vocabulary." "The art of this coffee table...
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Steel

Pair of Midcentury Armchair Herman Miller, Charles & Ray Eames, 1960s
By Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, Vitra, Herman Miller
Located in Praha, CZ
- Very rare type - Charles & Ray Eames and Alexander Girard - Marked by original label - Very comfortable - DAL, La Fonda.
Category

1960s Swiss Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Chrome

Alexander Girard Lounge Chairs, Model 66301 for Herman Miller, circa 1967
By Alexander Girard, Herman Miller
Located in Costa Mesa, CA
Alexander Girard lounge chairs, model 66301 for Herman Miller, circa 1967.
Category

20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Aluminum

Rare Model 430 Chair by Verner Panton for Thonet
By Verner Panton, Alexander Girard
Located in Dronten, NL
A rare model no. 430 chair designed by Verner Panton, 1967, for Thonet/Germany. Tubular steel frame, plywood, reupholstered with Maharam Alexander Girard fabric. Marked with Thonet...
Category

1960s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Aluminum

Midcentury Eames for Herman Miller La Fonda End Table, 1960s
By Alexander Girard, Charles and Ray Eames
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Midcentury travertine topped end table by Charles Eames for Herman Miller, 1960s. Suitable for indoor or outdoor use.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Travertine, Iron

1960s Alexander Girard Ashtray La Fonda Del Sol Restaurant NYC New York City Mod
By Alexander Girard
Located in Washington, DC
A rare and vintage city relic. It has a light stain inside the match cup, and mfg (greenware) defect on the bottom rim of the match cup. No chips, a very clean example.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Porcelain

Rare Alexander Girard Detrola Radio, circa 1946, Modernist
By Alexander Girard
Located in Buffalo, NY
Nice original working condition,, replaced back.. Signed with stamped manufacturer’s mark to underside: [12132]. USA Medium Design/Decorative Art Manufacturer Detrola Radio Alexande...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Brass

One of a Kind Midcentury Side Table Designed by Alexander Girard
By Alexander Girard
Located in BROOKLYN, NY
One of a kind Midcentury side table designed by Alexander Girard. handmade terrazzo table with inlay on steel frame legs. Features Girards early signature ( triangle, square, circle)...
Category

1940s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Steel

Alexander Girard Carolus Magnus Plates, The Miller House
By Georg Jensen, Alexander Girard
Located in BROOKLYN, NY
Alexander Girard created these plates for the Miller House, one of the most iconic examples of Mid-Century designs. These are original with very little use and in amazing condition. ...
Category

1950s German Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Ceramic

Alexander Girard & Charles Eames La Fonda Armchairs for Herman Miller circa 1960
By Alexander Girard, Charles and Ray Eames, Herman Miller
Located in Los Angeles, CA
In 1961 these armchairs were created in collaboration with Charles and Ray Eames when Alexander Girard was designing the interior of La Fonda Del Sol restaurant in New York City’s Ti...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Aluminum

Alexander Girard Textile Art
By Alexander Girard
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Wood Mounted Textile by Alexander Girard.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Textile

Alexander Girard Swivel Office Chair
By Alexander Girard
Located in San Francisco, CA
A swivel office chair by Alexander Girard. Base of four rollers.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Stainless Steel

Coffee Table by Alexander Girard & Charles Eames for La Fonda NYC 1960
By Alexander Girard
Located in Jersey City, NJ
Alexander Girard designed coffee or cocktail table for La Fonda de Sol Restaurant in Manhattan's Time & Life building in 1960 where he designed the furniture, dinnerware and logos an...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Set of Four Eames / Girard La Fonda Side Chairs by Herman Miller
By Charles and Ray Eames, Alexander Girard, Herman Miller
Located in Highland, IN
This set of four side chairs are the result of the collaboration between Charles and Ray Eames and Alexander Girard when he was designing the interior of La Fonda Del Sol restaurant....
Category

1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Fiberglass, Upholstery

Cabinet by Alexander Girard for George Nelson, USA C. 1965
By Alexander Girard
Located in Jersey City, NJ
One of four cabinets with sliding doors and open pulls made for George Nelson's office and designed by Alexander Girard. The cabinet is in its original condition with its original "G...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Metal

Eames LKH-2 Lounge with Girard Upholstery by Herman Miller
By Alexander Girard, Charles and Ray Eames, Herman Miller
Located in Highland, IN
This terrific example of the Eames LKH-2 easy chair has a black wire seat, a bikini pad in magenta naugahyde designed by Alexander Girard and a zinc lounge height H base. Like Califo...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Steel

1960s Alexander Girard Herman Miller Braniff Airline Herman Miller Stool Chair
By Alexander Girard, Herman Miller
Located in Washington, DC
A rare original first run Alexander Girard designed model no.66308 stool, manufactured by Herman Miller, in cast and milled aluminium. The round seat cushion is heavily patinated gre...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Aluminum

Charles Eames Alexander Girard Shell Chairs in Two-Tone Checkerboard
By Charles Eames, Alexander Girard
Located in Chicago, IL
A good matched orange and yellow set by Charles Eames and Alexander Girard for Herman Miller with custom order label on underside. Dated May 6, 1974. More pics to come. Upholstery i...
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Fiberglass

Alexander Girard Unusual Ottoman for Herman Miller
By Alexander Girard
Located in Toronto, Ontario
An incredibly rare example of an ottoman from the short-lived series of furniture by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, circa 1967. This seminal grouping was only produced for a ...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Metal

Set of Eight Sculptural Dining Chairs by Poul Volther, Frem Rojle, Denmark
By Poul Volther, Frem Røjle, Alexander Girard
Located in Buffalo, NY
Set of eight Poul Volther teak side chairs by Frem Rojle, Classic Mid-Century design, superior quality and construction, finger joinery. Retains original Alexander Girard electric bl...
Category

Mid-20th Century Danish Scandinavian Modern Alexander Girard

Materials

Fabric, Teak

Alexander Girard La Fonda Del Sol Matchbook Cover Collection
By Alexander Girard
Located in St.Petersburg, FL
A collection of 13 matchbook covers from the famed restaurant La Fonda Del Sol designed by Alexander Girard. Some used, some unused.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Paper

Vintage Alexander Girard Side Chair for Herman Miller
By Alexander Girard, Herman Miller
Located in Pasadena, TX
A vintage Alexander Girard armchair. The chair is upholstered in a olive color fabric. The classic color tone allow for the armchair to be a great accent piece for any home or office.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Aluminum

Rare Pair of Vintage Side Chairs Designed by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller
By Alexander Girard, Herman Miller
Located in Pasadena, TX
A rare pair of vintage Alexander Girard armchairs. The chairs are upholstered in naugahyde in two different color ways, olive with white and slate gray with white. The subtle color t...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Aluminum

Set of Four Eames and Girard Armchairs for La Fonda by Herman Miller
By Alexander Girard, Charles and Ray Eames, Herman Miller
Located in Highland, IN
Created in collaboration with Charles and Ray Eames, when Alexander Girard was designing the interior of La Fonda Del Sol restaurant, these chairs are a variation of the Eames fiberg...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Aluminum

Alexander Girard Occasional Table for Herman Miller
By Alexander Girard
Located in St.Petersburg, FL
A rare marble top table by Alexander Girard for Herman Miller, circa 1960s.
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Marble, Aluminum

Alexander Girard Marble Top Coffee or Side Table
By Alexander Girard
Located in Kansas City, MO
Made by Herman Miller for only two years in the mid-1960s, Alexander Gorards furniture designs are very rare and have become increasingly sought after. This coffee table with the ca...
Category

1960s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Alexander Girard

Materials

Marble, Aluminum