May 22, 2009

Bentwood Chair - Thonet? Fischel?

I found my next project for finishing class! I nearly walked right by this bentwood chair at Savers, but luckily I snapped it up for $10. I don't know much about bentwood pieces, but I can tell this chair is OLD - it has been painted and stripped (sloppily) and least once, and then painted brown (?? wha?) and stripped again. It's solid with no breaks, and is marked "Made in Poland" under the seat. Someone painted under the seat and rim with blackpaint, so I can't find any other mark.

The wood is gorgeous - nice aging and color - the seat in particular has a swirling grain pattern that is just beautiful, but hidden under some layers of a poorly applied clear coat of some kind.

I did some digging on the internet, and a lot of these chairs had paper labels, which may be why I can't find any maker marks. It also has "bayonet" coupling holding the back to the seat, which indicates it may be a Fischel or Kohn made chair. I am having trouble finding a matching image of what I have, so I can't really identify what it is. There are books and catalog of Thonet's work, but I'm not sure I want to buy a book just to identify the chair.

Regardless, it will be a great refinishing project! I debated whether to keep it in it's aged state, or refinishing it - which may decrease any value it might have. I decided that since I can't clearly identify it, I'd rather restore it and use it.

MoMA Thonet Page

La Stanza del Re Page

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