Allan Gould

ALLAN GOULD (1908 - 1988) was an American artist and designer who was born and raised in NYC. After graduating from Dartmouth in 1927 and returning to the city, Gould worked in advertising by day and studied at the Arts Student League by night. Throughout the 1930s, Gould and his wife, Alice, built a name for themselves with their paintings, winning several post office mural commissions through the Treasury Department and exhibiting at galleries like G.R.D Gallery as well as John Becker Gallery.

In the 1940s, Gould’s creative interest expanded to include furniture design. Through his relationship with Gilbert Rohde (whom he met while teaching at the Design Laboratory in the mid-30s), Gould was asked to design for Herman Miller where he created the “Compass Chair” in 1941. He was a lead designer in the firm and was in competition with George Nelson to take over Rohde’s position upon his retirement. It was also during this decade that Gould designed the complete line for Functional Furniture Manufacturers.

When the United States entered World War II, Gould served with the Army Corps of Engineers where he was stationed at Camp O’Reilly and Fort Brooke in Puerto Rico. He was discharged in November 1945 but stayed on in Puerto Rico to design bamboo furniture for the Puerto Rico Development Co. In 1948, his designs using the abundant and sturdy material of bamboo were noted in a Department of Agriculture circular from 1948 on the expanding use of bamboo in Puerto Rico for farming, furniture, and architecture.

In the 1950s, after experiencing notable success as a furniture designer, Gould established his own NYC-based company: Allan Gould Designs, Inc. One of the company’s early designs, a side chair with a steel frame and a plastic cord seat, was acquired by the Museum of Modern Art in 1955. The company had show rooms in New York City at 166 Lexington Avenue at 30th Street and in Chicago’s Merchandise Mart.

(Source: D. Wigmore Fine art; Image Credit: Esoteric Survey)