Stickley Furniture: Over 100 Years of Lasting Value

Here at Doerr Furniture, we are extremely proud to be the exclusive Stickley gallery dealer for Louisiana because we share their values of enduring tradition, superior craftsmanship and believe in their unshakeable philosophy of excellence that they have had for over 100 years. 

In order to truly appreciate Stickley Furniture, you must know a little about its history. Founded in 1900 by brothers, Gustav, Leopold and John George Stickley, Stickley Furniture has set the standards for innovative design and superior construction for generations.  At a time when early industrial furniture featured gaudy ornamentation and shoddy workmanship, the Stickley brothers created
innovative designs that made beautifully crafted furniture practical to use and exceedingly durable – a perfect match for the new ways American families wanted to live.

Emulating the style of William Morris, the leader and champion of the English Arts and Crafts movement, the Gustav Stickley first introduced his “mission” or “craftsman style” furniture line in 1905.  Rejecting ornamentation and valuing craftsmanship, he based his design on rectilinear forms; solid construction and durable joinery.  Believing in the “honesty” of working in natural woods, Gustave said it best when he labeled his original pieces with the Flemish slogan “Als ik kan,” or “To the best of my ability”.

By 1907, the American Arts and Crafts movement was increasingly popular in the United States, supporting a work ethic based on handicraft.  Gustav Stickley, who saw himself as a visionary of the movement, published The Craftsman magazine which included architectural plans for a “better, more reasonable way of living”.  By 1915, the changing tastes in furniture and the financial strain of his business ventures (Craftsman Farms and the Craftsman Building), forced
him into bankruptcy.  He died in 1942 and although Leopold and John George Stickley continued to run the furniture business, it only remained solvent because of its contracts to build desks and chairs for nearby schools.

In 1958 Leopold died, leaving his widow Louise Stickley to run the company.  As sales continued to decline due to Stickley imitations flooding the market, Louise considered closing the company.  In 1973, she offered to sell the company to Alfred Audi, son of E.J. Audi, Stickley’s largest dealer in New York.  Audi, who still owned his Stickley bed from childhood, bought the Stickley factory with a promise to cherish the company’s history and reputation and maintain its legendary quality and style. 

By the mid 70’s, a change in decorating trends brought the Arts and Crafts Furniture to the forefront.  Mission Oak furniture was featured in interior design publications and collectors
were paying top dollar for some of Gustav Stickley’s original work.  This was good news for Stickley Audi & Co., who began by reproducing 30 to 40 items from the original Mission Oak line as well as introducing mission-style lamps and accessories based on Gustav’s original designs.

Applying the same high standards to construction, along with the possibilities for new and reissued designs of the American Arts & Crafts movement, Stickley Audi & Co continued to grow adding its Metropolitan line (a contemporary Mission Oak), the 21st Century Mission line and its fine line of quality upholstered furniture.

Today, the 113-year-old Stickley Audi & Co. proudly has a work force of 1,400, three manufacturing plants, 13 company-owned showrooms and an extensive network of retail dealers.