Cooper Hewitt says...

Born in Germany, Walter von Nessen virtually pioneered the field of modern residential lighting. Before World War I, Walter von Nessen studied under Bruno Paul at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Berlin and taught at the Charlottenburg Art School. Following the war, he worked for architect Peter Behrens in Berlin and designed furniture in Stockholm from 1919 to 1923. Von Nessen immigrated to the United States in 1923 and opened Nessen Studios, with his wife Margaretta, in New York City in 1927. His practice was almost exclusively devoted to the design and fabrication of architectural lighting. He quickly created a name for himself, attracting the attention of leading architects with his sleek industrial designs. Von Nessen began to receive commissions to design lighting and other household items for top clients and was among the first wave of American industrial designers. He was also among the industrial designers such as Russel Wright, and Lurelle Guild, who designed wares for the Chase Copper and Brass Company in the 1930s.