Background and Provenance
(Written in 2015)
A 3-SEAT SOFA by Warren McArthur comprising of two pieces with a single armrest and one chair section without armrests. I’ve been researching Warren McArthur items found in Australia since 2002 and often venture into American listings too. These designs were created around 1933 (incredibly). There is a body of McArthur’s work in Australia made under license by Namco (mainly made in the late-1940’s here). Australia was the only country outside the USA to be granted a license to produce his designs. I have never seen this sectional sofa design before. I tried trawling international and Australian sites for it but have given up. It’s RARE. It’s certainly vintage. The vinyl is very old. (I’d say this is a late-1940’s production). In my opinion it’s definitely McArthur’s work. I remember reading somewhere that the “beehive caps” were patented by McArthur and the caps on these pieces are certainly his. They (perfectly) match caps on other McArthur chairs I have in my collection and have sold over the years.
Warren McArthur’s work is respected the world over. His designs were way ahead of their time and embraced by design buffs, celebrities and movie stars alike back in the 30’s and 40’s. You could put this sofa on the floor of Space Furniture today (upholstered in the right fabric) and it wouldn’t look out of place- this is an incredible feat for something designed over 80 years ago.
I must admit when I first came across McArthur’s work I was a little confused by why people were paying $10 000+ for a single chair. When I dug deeper on the internet and was floored by the repertoire of his work. (Most of his best designs didn’t make it to Australia unfortunately- this sofa is an exception- it’s incredibly versatile and practical because of the various configurations that can be made.) A website in America, Wright Auctions, has sold McArthur designs for about 15 years. Nearly all of the McArthur pieces I saw on their site were awe-inspiring- I now understand why McArthur pieces fetch big $ and feel it’s only going to continue. He is one of the most creative designers the world has seen. Google “Wright 20 Warren McArthur”- their items also come with auction estimates. (They have a pair of Biltmore chairs that recently sold for about US $7000.)
It would be great if these chairs found an Australian buyer but this time I MAY consider an international buyer if the buyer pays ALL charges we incur (some charges may pop up along the way. eg. boxing if it is needed.) NOTE- If you’re in the UK or USA expect to pay about AU$1500 (approx. US$1075) IN FULL CHARGES for either 3 or all 5 pieces.
Below is a short run-down of my history selling McArthur through iNVISeDGE to help gauge value in Australia. The chairs on offer here are WAY undervalued, ready for a quick sale and priced to attract multiple interested parties.
I sold a PAIR Bilmore lounge armchairs in 2007 for AU$5000 (Melbourne buyer), a PAIR Bilmore lounge armchairs 2008 for AU$5000 the pair (Perth buyer) and a PAIR Bilmore lounge armchairs WITH NO CUSHIONS in 2015 for AU$2500 the pair (New York buyer paid over AU$1600 in AIR FREIGHT to NYC) TOTAL- AU $4100.
The construction of these chairs is incredible- they’re lightweight and strong- the curves and angles are sensational and still “pack a punch” 80 years later. After the majority of modern “designer” furniture has ended up as landfill this pair from the 1940’s will only become more valued. There are few better ways to invest in your home and reduce your carbon footprint.
THIS LISTING IS FOR 3 SEATER SOFA ONLY. THIS CAME AS A LOT OF FIVE SECTIONAL PIECES ALL UP. THIS LISTING IS FOR THE TWO PIECES WITH A SINGLE ARMREST THAT FORM EACH END OF A SOFA PLUS ONE ARMLESS PIECE (the 3 can be pushed together to become a sofa or used independently- see all the photos.)