Gustav Frederick Behm - Desk and Chair, 1892<img alt="" src="/sites/GovernorsMansion/Exhibitions/PublishingImages/Art-of-Illinois/Behm-Desk-Chair.jpg" style="BORDER:0px solid;" />Gustav Frederick Behm - Desk and Chair, 1892<div class="ExternalClass7051DE0A023A42D3B948852337C8EF52"><p>​Gustav Frederick Behm, one of Chicago's most celebrated wood carvers, was often called upon to create highly ornamental presentation pieces, such as the mahogany desk and chair he created for Chicago hotel supplier Albert Pick as a wedding gift in 1892. Ornamented with relief profiles of Shakespeare, Goethe, and Schiller, the desk was accompanied by a chair with a wooden seat that had been carved to resemble leather upholstery secured to the frame with brads. He carved so many copies of the wooden chair seat that he patented the design in 1907.</p><p>Born in Germany in 1856, Behm first studied woodcarving with his father, who was a skilled violinmaker and wood worker. In Chicago by 1887, he worked in a studio on the North Side in the city's predominately German neighborhood. Advertising himself as an "artistic wood carver," Behm executed commissions for wealthy Chicagoans ranging from desks to substantial one-of- a-kind dining room suites—complete with table, sideboard, and matching chairs. Many of his dining tables were round, supported by a central pillar that incorporated a unique extension feature that he patented in 1906.</p><p>Behm was an instructor at the Art Institute of Chicago from 1890 through 1895 and was a designer and carver of harps for the Wurlitzer Company for almost 20 years. He designed and carved an innovative harp for Wurlitzer that won the highest award at the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1915.</p><p>Three years before his death in 1926, Behm completed <em>Resurrection Morn</em>, a religious carving many regarded as "the greatest piece of woodcarving in the country." Behm worked for 28 years to complete the circular bas-relief plaque showing Jesus looking down at a woman weeping at his tomb, the design of which he copyrighted in 1925. Over five feet in diameter, it was carved from a solid log of mahogany sent from Africa to the World's Columbian Exposition of Chicago in 1893.</p><p>Several desks carved by Behm feature silhouettes of German poets and literary figures in cabinets above writing tables lavishly carved with scrolls and griffin heads. A mahogany library table with legs and apron ornately carved by Behm now in the Governor's Mansion Collection was used as a desk by Governor James R. Thompson while his private office in the Governor's Mansion was being renovated in 1986.</p></div>GP0|#c4311696-0919-45be-8ba1-821f343b6971;L0|#0c4311696-0919-45be-8ba1-821f343b6971|Gustav Federick Behm;GTSet|#6a9f5109-021d-478a-ae73-864102492159;GPP|#b8008031-8d86-41bf-8c8c-657f66f046d4;GPP|#be65f490-4890-487c-bb16-c396d99511f7Furniture;#TemporaryWood;#Woodcut;#Chicago, IllinoisMade for Chicago hotel supplier Albert Pick, Sr. (1869–1955) on the occasion of his wedding to Gertrude Frank in 1892. Mahogany. Desk: 64 × 48 × 25¾ inches, Chair: 43 × 19 × 24 inches. Collection of Chicago History Museum, Gift of Mrs. Albert E. Pick, Jr.