“Modernism means freedom—freedom to mix, to choose, to change, to embrace the new but to hold fast to what is good.”Edward Wormley was born in 1907 in Rochelle, IL near Chicago. Coming from humble beginnings, he struggled financially to stay in school for interior design at the Art Institute of Chicago. Cutting his schooling short, he went to work as an interior designer for Marshall Fields & Company department store. Ultimately unfulfilled, in 1931 he joined the Dunbar Furniture Company of Berne, Indiana to update their product line.Wormley’s work with Dunbar met with immediate success and encompassed 30 years. His eye for quality and the exacting craftsmanship incorporating European innovations made for furniture that was elegant, understated and exceptionally well-made and in 1944 Dunbar decided to strictly focus on Modern lines. Wormley was never really at the forefront of Modern design. Instead, he took the best elements from classical, historical design and translated them into Modern vernacular. The result was furniture that was sophisticated, yet mainstream and very successful.Wormley’s inclusion in the Good Design Exhibitions staged by the Museum of Modern Art and the Merchandise Mart between 1950 and 1955 elevated him to a respected place alongside cutting edge designers like Bertoia, Nelson and Eames. Wormley understood the essential elements of Modernism but never limited himself to one ideology. His furniture represented a convergence of historical design and 20th century innovation that greatly appeals to today’s collectors.Wormley’s occasional tables for Dunbar tend to be overshadowed by his wonderful Modern upholstered pieces, but his title-topped tables created as part of the Janus line in 1957 were a perfect partnership between Modern production design aesthetic and the craft tile tradition of Tiffany and the Natzlers. Dining tables, staking tables and other occasional tables manufactured by Dunbar have been popular at auction but none have met with the success of these striking examples.