Marble Side Table by Cedric Hartman
Marble Side Table by Cedric Hartman.
19 in. (48 cm)
Cedric Hartman (1929-Present)
Hartman was born in Lincoln in 1929. His father, Cecil “Sed” Hartman, was a standout running back for Nebraska in the early 1920s. He went on to become coach and athletic director at the former Omaha University before serving in World War II. After the war, he started a new career in Omaha in construction and real estate.
By the late 1940s, the younger Hartman was just starting to pick up work as an architect when he was called away to serve in the Army during the Korean War. In a roundabout way, the experience took him to Chicago. Hartman soaked up the art, design and architectural inspirations of the city. He also spent time in Paris, studying at the Sorbonne, and later moved to New York, before an illness in his family brought him back to Omaha.
Hartman recognized the need for unimposing ambient light. At night, it serves its purpose. During the day, you appreciate it only if you notice it.
“Like a beautiful watch on a wrist,” he said.
He started designing his first lamps in the early 1960s. By decade’s end, two of them made it into the MoMA collection in New York. A series of lamps, fixtures, sofas and tables have followed in the decades since, serving an exclusive clientele of architects, designers and shopkeepers kept abreast of his output.
Hartman has long resisted attention in Omaha — almost all of his business comes from elsewhere — but his mark on the city is significant.
It’s a commonly told story that in the early 1960s Hartman put the idea for a bohemian district of shops, galleries and restaurants in the head of Sam Mercer, whose family company owned some warehouses in what became the Old Market area. Hartman brought his own design aesthetic to some of those early businesses, most notably the French Cafe. He also co-owned a shop called The Afternoon, a distant forebear to the current store in Midtown Crossing, that specialized in high-dollar design items. The store eventually sold to new owners — “We were long on taste and short on business acumen,” Hartman said — but it had its influence. Credit, By Casey Logan / / World-Herald staff write