Sorry SOLD in October 2020. SOLD!
This price is FOR one chair only. These look amazing as dining chairs, a desk chair or occasional chairs in the lounge room AND they’re so bloody comfortable! I used one as a desk chair in my showroom in Sydney for years (back when I had a showroom)- I LOVED IT especially the comfort (the back swivels on the back-bar). Eight of these set up in a COVERED outdoor area in white or grey marine-grade vinyl would be amazing! It has been a dream of mine to assemble 8 for an area like this but an Australian may never pay what I think a set of 8 would be worth (8 of these would basically be irreplaceable) so it’s with much reluctance I offer up these 4- I really don’t want to as they’re bloody hard to get (and worth a LOT more than this on any worldwide selling platform)! If you want all 4 it’d be best to act quickly as I am prepared to break up the suite. The last chair in this design I sold was back in 2010- nine years ago- I have another one in my collection that’s not currently being used. I’d possibly consider selling that one as well if you want 5.
SOLD! These chairs are being sold by one of my regular consignment sellers from NORTH LAKES, North Brisbane. These chairs can be easily shipped Australia-wide for a reasonable additional fee.
Background and Provenance
Furniture in this AUTHENTIC ART DECO tubular ALUMINIUM design is probably Australia’s most interesting furniture secret (… well it’s much less of a secret these days). Conceived by the American designer, Warren McArthur in the 1930’s, this style of furniture propelled McArthur to fame and captured the imagination of the country. In 1930’s America, design buffs, celebrities and movie stars were enthused by the glamour of Warren McArthur’s designs and instead of silver some of the metal frames were done in anodized colours such as peach and pale blue. Design connoisseurs today comment that his work was in a league above what was happening worldwide at the time. What I believe sets it apart is its seamless infusion of industrial styling with a feeling of soul.
What’s interesting from an Australian perspective is that Australia was the only country (outside of America) to be granted a license to produce McArthur’s furniture designs. I’ve heard an interesting story about how this came to be but I’m yet to verify whether it is just a story or the truth. The license was granted to Namco Furniture in the early 1940’s (or possibly mid-40’s). Some of the designs picked up in Australia were different to those in America. I have only come across this particular chair design 3 times while trawling American websites- IT’S VERY RARE ON A WORLDWIDE PLATFORM (this exact design was produced by the Warren McArthur Corporation in America). I believe these chairs were done by Namco in the late 1940’s (there’s no maker’s tag) but it’s certainly McArthur’s patented design. There’s a Caltex aluminium plaque on some with a serial number… they’re very old plaques (definitely 1940’s or 50’s in vintage- engraved like my Dad’s football trophies from the 60’s). I’ve seen these types of labels on expensive office furniture these days making it harder for staff to steal! These vintage plaques would have been pretty easy to get off with a bit of patience though! These are certainly VINTAGE chairs- most likely late 1940’s. And the Caltex tag verifies they were sold to a commercial / office situation where people needed to be comfortable for hours- possibly up to 8 hours a day. (This substantiates the comfort of this design.)
Warren McArthur’s work is finally getting some traction here in Australia- still only from people with a well-cultured eye but it’s not just serious collectors buying it anymore. I’ll be going to America to visit friends in the next couple of years. If these chairs don’t sell quickly it’s likely I’ll put them in the back of storage and take them as luggage (taking them as luggage would be cheap as they’re LIGHTWEIGHT)- they’d EASILY fetch triple this if sold from an American address (see the screenshots provided- the $8995 price-tag is in US$!). McArthur’s items are also worth huge dollars in Europe (particularly France).
These chairs were designed some 80-90 years ago- imagine these amongst the big heavy and dark-Walnut offerings at the time- what a thrill they would have stirred!
I believe that Warren McArthur’s work will continue to increase in value in Australia in coming years- a few of my customers with a knowing eye have paid very good money for McArthur furniture pieces I’ve had over the years. Americans pay crazy-money for McArthur designs in fully original condition like this. I have some McArthur pieces in my own home as I’ve appreciated this style ever since a chair of his appeared amongst a barrage of industrial junk at an auction centre almost 20 years ago. It was almost glowing- like a beacon in a choppy sea- (I had no idea what it was and, like a beacon in the middle of the sea, I grabbed it and didn’t let go!). It wasn’t really glowing (obviously) but exceptional design seems to do this when you see as much furniture as I do. I shouldn’t need to state this- buying chairs that look like this after 70 years of use is the very best thing you can do as an investment in your home and for our environment. There’s absolutely no better way to reduce your carbon footprint!