October 4, 2010

Aawesome: Alvar Aalto Kids Chair

aalto_finmar_w20.jpg

A nice-looking vintage example of Alvar Aalto's Child's Chair No. 103 is coming up for auction at Chicago's Wright20 next week. They list the date as 1930, but that's when Aalto made his first, related, bent ply and metal tube cantilevered stacking chair. MoMA says the child's all-wood version came in 1931-2.

In any case, the Wright20 chair has a Finmar label, which means it's from no earlier than 1934, the year Philip Morton Shand and Geoffrey Boumphrey's wholesale company began importing Aalto furniture to the UK. Isn't it ironic that the granddaughter of a pioneer of British modernism like Shand would end up marrying such a heavyhanded, anti-modernist meddler as Prince Charles?

While surfing around for comps, I found that Chicago vintage gallery Ubermodern sold a Model 103 chair that they said was made in 1936.

Hey, look at these scratches from the buckles of long-outgrown overalls, they're a perfect match! Too bad someone broke up the set...

uberaalto_model103.jpg

Anyway, 1936, final answer. You can show that Camilla what's what on October 12. Bidding starts at $1,000.

Lot 522 Alvar Aalto, child's chair 1930 (sic), est. $2,000-3,000 [wright20.com]
update: sold [finally!] for $1875.

4 Comments

the set? that looks like the same chair.

It's one of the great, glaring flaws in Prince Charles' otherwise quite impressive public persona. He's quite the snappy kilted dresser, has his 'local farms local produce' scheme going, and then there's the unfortunate anti-modernism beef...

I hate faux-old construction (and don't get me started on bizarre-theme-park-post-modernist architecture). When something old NEEDS to come down, it only makes sense to build something in a style that is current.

If they'd kept to the 'old style' in London, everything would be (at best) half-timber and thatch.

Thank merciful crap for the Great Fire of London and possibly the Blitz, I guess.

indeed, that's another possible explanation!

Aastonishing explanäätion

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