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Greta Grossman Folding Chair

About the Item

Exceedingly rare, sculpturally resonant Greta Grossman indoor/outdoor folding chairs, of painted tubular steel and cotton cord, produced in California circa 1949 either by Barker Brothers or Modern Color, Inc. The chaise and lounge versions of this chair appear in the Greta Grossman archives, and are documented with staged archival photographs as Barker Brothers productions circa 1947 in the book “Greta Magnusson Grossman—A Car and Some Shorts” in the chronology at the end; the present side or dining chair version is not included in the chronology, but appears in a John Hartley photograph of Grossman’s own house in 1956 in proximity to an outdoor dining table. A similar dining version appears in a Donald Higgins period photo of the Backus House. (see attached photos). The outdoor lounge chair version subsequently appeared in “Current Design” for Autumn 1950 curated by the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. Modern Color, Inc of Los Angeles is listed as the producer and distributor. The 3/4 inch gauge of the tubular steel, the width of the chair, the “Greta Grossman green” color and the construction details all line up precisely with the present chairs, down to the welded projections that prevent the seat from sagging when sat in. Note that the same Barker Brothers archival photo is used by Modern Color. Modern Color probably failed in its efforts to market the chairs, perhaps sending a few prototypes around to museums or showrooms. Or possibly the present chairs were made by Barker Brothers as part of whatever small production run occurred in Los Angeles in the late 1940s. The chairs have new cotton cord, following the original lines, but the green paint is spot-on original, with obvious wear (and character) associated with age and use. I am not aware of any other examples of this design turning up in any collection or on the market (nor of the lounge version), so this is an exciting opportunity for a collector, curator, or designer to add a hitherto unseen item from one of America’s most important midcentury designer/architects.
  • Creator:
  • Dimensions:
    Height: 33.5 in (85.09 cm)Width: 21 in (53.34 cm)Depth: 23 in (58.42 cm)Seat Height: 18 in (45.72 cm)
  • Style:
    Mid-Century Modern (Of the Period)
  • Materials and Techniques:
  • Place of Origin:
  • Period:
  • Date of Manufacture:
    circa 1949
  • Condition:
    Rewoven. Wear consistent with age and use. Minor losses. Fine structural condition. The “Grossman” green paint is original and shows patina and obvious wear associated with age and use. The cotton cord is new following original lines. See photos.
  • Seller Location:
    New York, NY
  • Reference Number:
    1stDibs: LU828512154023
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