Margarethe Fröhlich

Overhead view of a bedroom with a large black area rug, on which sit two armchairs, one tan and one red, facing a large bed with red bedding and a built-in cabinet.


Margarethe (Grete) Fröhlich (Austrian, 1901–2001) was born in Vienna, Austria, and studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Munich, Germany, in 1921. Following the death of her first husband in 1926, Fröhlich moved with her young daughter to Frankfurt, Germany, in 1929. It was there that she developed an interest in architecture and interior design, specifically interiors for workers’ housing. She studied for three years at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Frankfurt before marrying Ernst Fröhlich, a Czech journalist, in 1933 and fleeing the Nazi regime for Prague.

It was in Prague that Fröhlich’s career as an interior designer and model maker began. Fröhlich befriended designer Friedl Dicker (1898–1944), who taught her how to make isometric drawings. She designed her first interior for the son of a neighbor. Fröhlich’s interior designs were largely for working-class homes and received occasional attention in local periodicals. She spent much of her career in Prague, making models for other designers and running her business from home.

Fleeing the Nazis yet again, Fröhlich and her family moved to England, where she found work as a model maker for Franz Singer. After separating from her husband, Fröhlich and her daughter moved to New York in 1943. She built models for Harrison & Fouilhoux and Raymond Loewy until 1948. From 1948–1950, she taught three summer courses in Home Planning and Furnishing at Columbia University’s Teachers College. After 1950, she started a new career as a teacher at the Waldorf School, where she taught the History of Art and Architecture and Handwork.


This image features an Axonometric view of living room/bedroom with studio bed and built-in cabinet in upper corner; a square table with retractable shelves and two arm chairs on either side of table; horizontal strip lighting hangs high on wall above cabinet and bed; and glass shelves for plants hang right of the bed; black and white rectangular carpet/linoleum beneath table and chairs. Please scroll down to read the blog post about this object.
A Room of One’s Own
In celebration of Women’s History Month, March Object of the Day posts highlight women designers in the collection. Today’s blog post was written by Caitlin Condell and originally published September 30, 2015. German-born Margarethe (Grete) Fröhlich was a young artist when she moved to Frankfurt, Germany in 1929.  In the early 1920s Frankfurt had experienced a...