About Mastercraft (Manufacturer)
Compared to that other furniture-makers in historically minded Grand Rapids, Michigan, the work of Mastercraft seems positively flamboyant. The company was founded in 1947 by brothers Charles and William Doezema, who hailed from a long line of cabinetmakers. They went overseas during their service in World War II, and returned home with a plan to make furniture with cosmopolitan flair. Their firm specialized in chairs and case pieces that have modernized traditional forms, finished in exotic wood veneers such as amboyna, yew, burl and fruitwood, and trimmed in brass. Bureaus and credenzas often feature cabinet fronts with decorative brass details such as silhouettes of flowers and birds, or figures that resemble Chinese characters.
In later years, Mastercraft created chairs and glass-topped coffee tables with brass frames. Some pieces included touches like the Greek key — a motif that appears in the decorative arts of both Asian and European antiquity. After Mastercraft was acquired by industry giant Baker Furniture in 1974, the company produced a large group of case pieces featuring applied brass plaques, acid-etched with semi-abstract forms by the German-born, Vancouver-based artist Bernhard Rohne.
The latter are some of the most popular Mastercraft pieces, and like all the company’s wares range in price from about $2,000 to $12,000 depending on size, condition and the amount of decorative trim. As you will see on these pages, Mastercraft furnishings made a bold but artful statement — perfect for lending a bit of dash and brawn to a contemporary decor.