Early Patented Furniture Designs by Warren McArthur

Nicholas Brown, Camden, Maine

These early works by Warren McArthur, constructed of enameled steel tubing, pressed stainless steel washers/caps and nickel-plated back slats, are rare examples of designs produced in McArthur’s Los Angeles workshop. Brilliantly designed, these works seamlessly transform classic furniture elements into a new modernist form. The green enamel and the ladder back structure evident in these seating designs exhibit a respect for colonial and late Victorian furniture popular in America at the time, while his advanced construction techniques and use of tubular steel reveal his innovative modern aesthetic.

The most stunning example of these rare pieces is the chaise. The integrity of this form is dependent on both the tubular frame for vertical support and the seat cushion and mahogany armrests for stability and horizontal re-enforcement. If you look closely at the back blocks of the armrests you will see that the inner rods of the radically raked back are incased in perpendicular mahogany blocks. This use of angled tail blocks essentially integrates the support of the back rest into the main body of the frame while simultaneously creating a visual dialogue between the subtle grained mahogany armrests and the highly polished nickel-plated back slats, the green lacquered steel tubing and pressed stainless steel caps.

Commissioned around 1931 by a prominent South Florida family, this work was packed away in 1950 and only recently rediscovered,