Skip to Content
Today Open today 11–5

Occasional Table

A work made of aluminum, bakelite, and iron.

Image actions

  • A work made of aluminum, bakelite, and iron.


c. 1930


Designed by Walter von Nessen (American, born Germany, 1889–1943)
Manufactured by Nessen Studio, Inc. (American, founded 1927)
New York

About this artwork

Walter von Nessen was among the group of architects and designers born and trained in Europe, including Paul Frankl and Wolfgang Hoffmann, who altered the shape of American interior design during the first decades of the 20th century. For his occasional table—whose diminutive stature and portability were inspired by the informal buffet dinners and cocktail parties that gained in popularity during the Prohibition era—Von Nessen shrewdly married modernity with tradition. The aluminum and Bakelite—which were just being accepted as suitable for interior decoration—suggest the latest in machine technology, but they also evoke luxurious materials such as silver and ebonized wood. At the same time, the graceful sweep of aluminum that curves upward toward the tabletop evokes neoclassical visual details.


Currently Off View


Arts of the Americas


Walter Von Nessen (Designer)


Occasional Table


New York City (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1930


Aluminum, Bakelite, and iron


Impressed: NESSEN / STUDIO / N.Y. / 451 (on underside of base)


46 × 46.4 × 30.5 cm (18 1/8 × 18 1/4 × 12 in.)

Credit Line

Quinn E. Delaney Fund

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


Sign up for our enewsletter to receive updates.

Learn more

Image actions