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Karl Springer Chairs

American, German, 1931-1991

The Berlin-born, New York–based designer Karl Springer brought a chic, high-fashion sensibility to his coffee tables, mirrors, Lucite lamps and other furnishings. During his heyday in the 1970s, Springer’s work was a favorite of the glamour set, who enjoyed the novelty of pieces finished in rich and striking materials that ranged from exotic hides and skins to lacquer and chromed metal.

In a sense, Springer was a pre-postmodernist. Much as the dull, safe, corporate sameness of late 20th-century modernism prompted Ettore Sottsass, Michael Graves and others to explore new and provocative structures and materials in design and architecture, so, too, was Springer driven to enliven his creations with fresh and alluring energy and sleekness.

Springer came to New York in the late 1950s and found work arranging window displays at the department store Lord & Taylor. He had studied bookbinding in Germany, and, using his meticulous skills, he began crafting desk accessories wrapped in leather as a sideline. These pieces were sold in luxury stores like Bergdorf Goodman and drew a sophisticated clientele that included the Duchess of Windsor.

By 1965, Springer had established his own Manhattan atelier. It was Pierre Scapula, decorator to Jackie and Aristotle Onassis, who spotted Springer's disco-era Onassis chairs — which didn't yet have a name — first commissioned for a private residence in Acapulco, on the floor of the designer’s East 61st Street showroom. Jackie ordered barstools for the couple’s yacht, the Christina O, and dining chairs for their house on the Greek mainland.

At the time of his death, Springer had showrooms as far afield as Los Angeles, Tokyo and Munich.

The chairs, tables, credenzas and other furniture forms Springer created are generally simple, but substantial, and often have robust, rounded lines. The appeal of his work lies in Springer's insistence on exacting construction and, above all, his eye for unusual materials and finishes.

Springer employed Lucite, brass, and gunmetal along with chromed and polished steel, and revived exquisite finishes rarely seen since the days of Art Deco masters such as Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Jean-Michel Frank: shagreen (a type of sharkskin), python, goatskin, bone, horn, and lacquered parchment, as well as fabrics that include batik prints. Made of such materials, Springer’s work is by its very nature flamboyant and eye-catching: a suite of pieces will astonish, and an artfully placed side table in exotic hide will add a surprising spark.

Find a collection of vintage Karl Springer furniture today on 1stDibs.

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Creator: Karl Springer
Karl Springer, Chinese Curved Back Chair, USA, c. 1980s
By Karl Springer
Located in East Hampton, NY
This documented rare chair by Karl Springer, found in his catalogue of original creations, is made of chrome-plated steel, brass and lucite. The seat cushion is upholstered in a fine...
Category

1980s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Brass, Stainless Steel

Signed Karl Springer Lizard Leather JMF Chair, 1984
By Karl Springer
Located in Rio Vista, CA
Stylish JMF Chair by Karl Springer featuring an amazing embossed lizard leather skin veneer. Signed and dated on bottom 1984 with excellent joinery and craftsmanship. The leather has...
Category

20th Century American Modern Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Leather, Wood

Set of Three Lacquered and Emerald Green Mohair Barstools by Karl Springer
By Karl Springer
Located in Palm Springs, CA
Set of three 1980’s off white lacquered ‘Onassis Barstools’ by Karl Springer for Steve Chase. Out of a Steve Chase Design Estate in Rancho Mirage CA. ...
Category

1980s American Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Fabric, Wood

Pair of Oak Onassis Chairs by Karl Springer Mid-Century Modern
By Karl Springer
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Pair of oak Onassis chairs by Karl Springer, Mid-Century Modern, new upholstery in faux sheepskin.
Category

20th Century North American Mid-Century Modern Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Oak

Pair of Original Karl Springer Chairs, Stainless Steel and Brass
By Karl Springer
Located in North Miami, FL
One of Karl Springer’s most popular and versatile designs, the Regency Arm Chair features a slightly tilted back for maximum comfort. The frame is mirror polished stainless steel wit...
Category

1980s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Brass, Steel

Chic Pair of Original Karl Springer JMF Chairs in Goatskin
By Karl Springer
Located in Jesteburg, DE
An original design by Karl Springer for Tura, this freeform chair exemplifies the modernist contemporary style of this designer with a sleek silhouette...
Category

Late 20th Century American Art Deco Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Goatskin

Karl Springer, JMF “C” Benches
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
This exquisite pair of Jean-Michel Frank inspired “C” benches designed and made by Karl Springer feature elegant curved polished stainless steel legs and newly...
Category

Late 20th Century American Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Steel, Stainless Steel

Related Items
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Vico Magistretti Set of Four Barstools in Ash and Straw
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Set of Five (5) Karl Springer Grey Lacquered Goatskin Bar Stools
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Karl Springer set of five JMF grey goatskin lacquers clad bar stools, 1980s. In original preserved condition. Lacquered Goat Skin Clad over Wood. Not signed. Stored 20+ years in a...
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Pair of Mid-Century Modern Scissor Chairs
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Pair of Mid-Century Modern Scissor Chairs
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Karl Springer Modern Leather Bench
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Modern leather surfaced bench with waterfall rounded armrests, made by Karl Springer in 1987. Signed and dated by the designer. The piece is in great vintage condition with age-appro...
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Karl Springer Modern Leather Bench
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6 Karl Springer Onassis Chairs in Goatskin with Leather Seats
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Located in Los Angeles, CA
Set of six original Karl Springer Onassis Chairs in goatskin. The six chairs have been in a one user household and are in great vintage conditi...
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Matteo Grassi Pair of Dining Chairs in Leather and Steel
By Matteo Grassi
Located in Waalwijk, NL
Matteo Grassi, pair of dining chairs, leather and steel, Italy, 1980s. These sophisticated dark blue leather chairs with an angular design are designed for Italian manufacturer Matt...
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1980s Italian Post-Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

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Karl Springer Pair of "Onassis Bar Stools" in Lacquered Mahogany, 1970s
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Pair of "Onassis Bar Stools" in mirror lacquered mahogany with upholstered seats and oxidized bronze footrests by Karl Springer, American 1970s. The beautiful wood and meticulous fin...
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1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

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Karl Springer "Souffle Ottoman" with Polished Steel Base, 1980s
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
"Souffle Ottoman" with artisan decorated fabric and base in polished stainless steel with hidden castors, by Karl Springer, American 1980s. As with all of Karl Springer’s designs, th...
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1980s American Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Stainless Steel

Vintage Mid-Century Salterini Curve Back Outdoor Cantilever/Springer Arm Chair
By Salterini
Located in Wilmington, DE
Vintage Mid-Century Salterini Curve Back Outdoor Cantilever/Springer Arm Chair Offered is a Vintage Mid-Century Salterini Curve Back Outdoor Cantilever/Springer Arm Chair in the styl...
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1970s North American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Iron

Karl Springer Pair of Rare JMF Benches in Ox Blood Goatskin with Cushions 1970s
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Pair of rare sculptural “J.M.F. Benches” in oxblood lacquered goatskin with seat cushions by Karl Springer, American 1970's. These exquisite benches are stunning in every way. Newl...
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1970s American Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

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Modern Chrome & Tufted Velvet Office Chair, 1980s USA
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Extremely comfortable and chic modern chrome and tufted velvet office chair from the 1980's. 100% Polyurethane foam cushion and back. Chrome armrests, base and casters. Original 'Dau...
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Chrome, Metal

Previously Available Items
Karl Springer Rare Set of 4 Folding Chairs with Polished Chrome and Brass 1980s
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Rare set of 4 folding chairs, beautifully crafted in polished brass and chrome with upholstered seats and backs, by Karl Springer, American 1980's. Metal has been professionally cle...
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1980s American Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

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Pair of Original Karl Springer Chairs, Stainless Steel and Brass
By Karl Springer
Located in North Miami, FL
One of Karl Springer’s most popular and versatile designs, the Regency Arm Chair features a slightly tilted back for maximum comfort. The frame is mirror polished stainless steel wit...
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1980s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Brass, Steel

Karl Springer Elegant Polaris Desk Chair, 1980s
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
Beautifully crafted "Polaris Desk Chair" in celadon, gold and red fabric with floral motif and mahogany legs by Karl Springer, American 1980's. This chair is very elegant and extremely comfortable. Reference: Karl Springer Red Binder Catalog published in the 1980’s, section titled “seating”, on page 20 is a photo of this model titled “KARL SPRINGER LTD POLARIS…CHAIR...
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1980s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

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Karl Springer Set of 4 "Jmf Chairs" in High Gloss Black Lacquer, 1980s
By Karl Springer
Located in West Palm Beach, FL
Set of 4 "J.M.F. Chairs" in newly restored high gloss black lacquer by Karl Springer, American, 1980's. Appropriate for dining or a game table. Reference: Karl Springer catalog, red ...
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Pair of Karl Springer Bar Stools
By Karl Springer
Located in Los Angeles, CA
An extraordinary pair of mid-century Karl Springer bar stools in great condition beautiful crafted out wood fully restored by our craftsmen tea...
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1970s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

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Maple, Fabric, Upholstery, Foam, Wood, Lacquer

Pair of Karl Springer Bar Stools
Pair of Karl Springer Bar Stools
H 43 in W 24 in D 21 in
Backgammon Table and Two JMF Chairs by Karl Springer, Signed
By Karl Springer
Located in Palm Desert, CA
This is a signed, exquisite two-tone taupe original lizard skin backgammon table by Karl Springer with two matching JMF chairs. The set includes 2 lizard skin cups, set in black and ...
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1980s American Mid-Century Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

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Brass

Karl Springer "JMF Chair" in Blue Shagreen with Bone Inlays 1980s 'Signed'
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
"J.M.F. Chair" covered in blue shagreen with bone inlays by Karl Springer, American 1980's (signed “Karl Springer” on brass label on seat bottom). The materials and craftsmanship of ...
Category

1980s American Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Lacquer, Bone, Shagreen, Wood

Leather Clad Armchairs Karl Springer
By Karl Springer
Located in Chicago, IL
Armchairs fully clad in leather by Karl Springer, signed 1982.
Category

1980s American Post-Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Leather

Karl Springer Pair of "Onassis Chairs" in Lacquered Goatskin, 1970s
By Karl Springer
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Pair of authentic Karl Springer "Onassis Chairs" clad in lacquered goatskin. Sold as a set.
Category

1970s American Modern Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Goatskin, Leather, Upholstery, Lacquer

Karl Springer Set of 8 Goatskin JMF Dining Chairs, 1980
By Karl Springer
Located in Chicago, IL
Karl Springer set of 8 goatskin dining chairs, "JMF", 1980. Chairs are Jean Michel Frank Model. Matching dining table in separate listing.
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1980s Vintage Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Goatskin, Lacquer

Signed Karl Springer Embossed Leather Table and Four Lacquered Chairs
By Karl Springer
Located in Los Angeles, CA
Signed Karl Springer Game or dining table. The table is leather embossed lizard, in very good vintage condition. Four lacquered chairs with very good upholstery - all coordinating in...
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20th Century Mid-Century Modern Karl Springer Chairs

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Karl Springer Rare JMF Chair in Shagreen with Bone Inlays 1980s 'Signed'
By Karl Springer
Located in New York, NY
JMF chair in shagreen with bone inlays and sabots by Karl Springer, American, 1980s (signed on bottom with Karl Springer label). Reference: Karl Springer red Binder catalog, 1980s...
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1880s American Mid-Century Modern Antique Karl Springer Chairs

Materials

Bone, Shagreen, Wood

Karl Springer chairs for sale on 1stDibs.

Karl Springer chairs are available for sale on 1stDibs. These distinctive items are frequently made of wood and are designed with extraordinary care. There are many options to choose from in our collection of Karl Springer chairs, although brown editions of this piece are particularly popular. Many of the original chairs by Karl Springer were created in the mid-century modern style in north america during the 20th century. If you’re looking for additional options, many customers also consider chairs by Ralph Lauren, Richard Schultz, and Donghia. Prices for Karl Springer chairs can differ depending upon size, time period and other attributes — on 1stDibs, these items begin at $2,103 and can go as high as $15,000, while a piece like these, on average, fetch $7,500.

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