mahogany with ebony pegs and abalone, copper, silver and exotic wood inlay, and later fabric upholstery
Greene & Greene and the American Arts & Crafts Movement, permanent exhibition, The Virginia Steele Scott Gallery of American Art, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA, 1996-2007
Timothy J. Anderson, Eudorah M. Moore and Robert W. Winter, eds., California Design 1910, Salt Lake City, 1974, p. 106 (for the rocking chair)
William R. Current, Greene & Greene: Architects in the Residential Style, Fort Worth, 1974, p. 56 (for the rocking chair) and pp. 80-81, 83-85 (for related rugs in the Gamble House)
Randell L. Makinson, Greene & Greene: Furniture and Related Designs, Salt Lake City, 1979, p. 63 (for the chiffonier), p. 75 (for a watercolor rendering of a rug for the Gamble House), and p. 85 (for related inlaid designs from the Freeman Ford House)
Wendy Kaplan, The Art that is Life: The Arts & Crafts Movement in America, 1875-1920, Boston, 1987, p. 406 (for the rocking chair)
Leslie Greene Bowman, American Arts & Crafts: Virtue in Design, Los Angeles, 1990, p. 51 (for the pair of rocking chairs and small table)
Randell L. Makinson, Greene & Greene: The Passion and the Legacy, Salt Lake City, 1998, p. 124 (for a related rug from the Gamble House)
Randell L. Makinson and Thomas A. Heinz, Greene & Greene: The Blacker House, Salt Lake City, 2000, p. 74 (for the pair of rocking chairs and small table) and p. 82 (for the chiffonier)
Randell L. Makinson and Thomas A. Heinz, Greene & Greene: Creating a Style, Layton, UT, 2004, p. 76 (for a related inlaid library table from the Freeman Ford House)
Marvin Rand, Greene & Greene, Layton, UT, 2005, p. 199 (for a detail of this inlaid chair splat design mis-attributed to the Gamble House)
This exquisitely inlaid side chair embodies the Greenes' key design principles of symmetrical linearity, purity of form and harmonious proportions personifying their mature high style. This rare side chair is one of only two known examples of the form, along with two rocking chairs designed en suite which display the same rear splat treatment. These two chair forms were designed for the Blacker master bedroom suite, and are believed to have been executed in pairs.
Consistent with the Greenes’ practice of developing unique design programs to distinguish specific rooms within a residence, all of the master bedroom furniture was inlaid with an abstract “tree of life” motif articulated in abalone, silver, copper, and wood. This motif is related to a series of rugs designed by the Greenes for the David B. Gamble House. Three different watercolor renderings for the Gamble rugs illustrate a similar conventionalized device of a flowering tree with roots. The Gamble watercolor renderings are dated 1908, and suggest the Greenes were utilizing this motif at roughly the same time in both commissions. The inlay motifs on the Blacker master bedroom suite also speak to furniture executed for the Freeman A. Ford commission around 1907, which exhibits related linear and abstract inlay compositions.
In addition to this side chair, several other pieces from the original master bedroom suite are presently accounted for in museum and private collections. A large architectonic chiffonier and dressing table, along with the mate to this side chair, are in a private California collection. Two rocking chairs (designed en suite with this side chair model) and a small side table are in the collection of Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Additionally, a writing table and sofa are privately owned. All of these designs display obvious associations with the repertoire of Charles Rennie Mackintosh and C.F.A. Voysey, most notably in their abstract inlay motifs, bifurcated chair splats and the stacked linear formations of the larger case pieces.
Like the living room arm chair offered in the preceding lot, this side chair is believed to have been removed from the Blacker residence in the late 1940s following Nellie Blacker’s death in 1946 and the subsequent sale of the house. The chair was re-discovered in the mid 1990s, and was shortly thereafter loaned to the Huntington where it remained on public exhibition until this year.
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