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Monday, January 30, 2012

Jack Lenor Larsen

Jack Lenor Larsen (1927- ) was born in Seattle, Washington, to Norsk-Canadian parents. He studied architecture at the University of Washington, but in 1945 he took a weaving class, which changed the course of his life.

He worked for a time at Handcraft House in California, teaching weaving to famous students like Joan Crawford, until he was offered a position as teaching assistant at Cranbrook Academy, from which he received a Masters of Fine Arts in 1951.

In 1952 Larsen move to New York, and by 1953 he had formed Jack Lenor Larson, Inc. Florence Knoll, who had rejected his portfolio in 1951, asked him to do a group of furniture fabrics in olive green and shades of orange, which became the avocado green and harvest gold of the 1960s.

In 1954 he opened a showroom on Park Avenue and sold to customers like Marilyn Monroe and Frank Lloyd Wright. In 1958 he designed upholstery fabrics for Pan Am. By 1974 his various companies were producing fabric in 30 countries. He was also operating as Larsen Design Studio, Larsen Carpet and Leather, and Larsen Furniture.

While Larsen has designed many of the beautiful textiles sold by his companies, he has also employed many talented designers who have created many of the fabrics for Jack Lenor Larsen, Inc. and Larsen Design Studio.

His work is displayed at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Cooper-Hewitt Museum and the Fashion Institute of Technology, among others. His art center, LongHouse Reserve, houses treasures from around the world.


Horsecloth, 1952 (designed by Jack Lenor Larsen)

Eclipse, 1955 (designed by Warren Platner)

Spice Garden, 1959 (designed by June Groff)

Spice Garden on Milo Baughman chair

Primavera, 1960 (designed by Don Wight)

Primavera pillows

Aurora, 1961 (Larsen Design Studio)

Aurora chairs

Caravan, 1962 (designed by Anita Askild) - pixiedustlinens

Caravan on a Paul McCobb sofa for Directional

Caravan on an Edward Wormley ottoman for Dunbar

Milo Baughman sofa, 1960s

Momentum Blue Flame on Pierre Paulin Ribbon chairs, 1960s


  1. My husband is dying for one of those modern sofas! The Paul McCobb is great. I'm loving the photos of your home and decor, it's just fab!

    1. Thanks for the kind words about my home. I'm glad you enjoyed looking at the photos.

      I hope you and your husband find just the right modern sofa. There are so many styles to choose from, and once you've enjoyed those clean lines, I don't know how anyone could go back to something ornate.

  2. Thanks for posting a great bio about an interesting and talented person. I love these fabrics; I've owned a couple sofas very similar but in gold and brown tones. I would love to get my hands on some of that blue striped fabric.

    1. I agree that Larsen is an extremely interesting man, and his fabrics are modern and opulent, which is quite a combination. The colors in that striped fabric are so vibrant and rich that I could sit and look at it for hours.

  3. The Primavera pattern reminded us of works by Gustav Klimt - can you see the similarity?

    1. Yes, I see it very clearly. I actually think I read on that the design was inspired by Klimt's work.