After training in Germany, Von Nessen came to the United States and established Nessen Studios in New York in 1927. He quickly earned a following among well-established modern architects, who commissioned him to design lighting and other household objects for their clients. He became one of the only major designers between the wars to concentrate on innovative lighting, and his popular table and floor lamps ended up in schools, hospitals, offices, and homes. Von Nessen was particularly influential in developing adjustable and indirect lighting, and he favored nontraditional materials like spun aluminum, Bakelite, and fiberglass, as well as chrome plating, which was only refined in the mid–1920s. His wife, Greta Von Nessen, was the daughter of a Swedish architect he had worked with. After her husband’s death, she revived Nessen Studios and produced celebrated designs of her own, notably the Anywhere Lamp (1951).
Gallery label from Shaping Modernity: Design 1880-1980, December 23, 2009–July 25, 2010 .