1044-A Armchair, ca. 1935
Graduating from Cornell in 1908 with a degree in mechanical engineering, Warren McArthur was interested in applying new materials and technologies to the design of furniture and lighting. Between 1911 and 1914 he filed at least ten patents for lighting designs. In 1929 McArthur moved out to Los Angeles to start a metal furniture business and a year later moved back to the east coast and set up shop in Rome, New York where his business rapidly expanded. By about 1936 his firm offered about six hundred furniture designs, characterized by their construction of interchangeable parts and early use anodized aluminum, a technology that only began to develop in the 1920s. This 1044-A exhibits a spare frame of spun aluminum tubes that gives the chair a machine-like appearance while accents of anodized aluminum at the points of joinery provide hints of blue. A brochure of the mid-1930s explained that a mineral dye “is impregnated” into the metal “sealing the surface with color.”  The material technology also had a few practical advantages in that it would not smudge, tarnish, or show finger marks, and it did not need polishing. McArthur’s furniture attracted the attention of a wide range of clients and uses, from the Hollywood home of Marlene Dietrich, corporate offices and beauty parlors to restaurants, hotels and private clubs. This great appeal reveals the visual energy, economy and functional nature of McArthur’s furniture as well as its impact on the 1930’s American interior.
This object was
George R. Kravis II.
It is credited
Gift of George R. Kravis II.
Our curators have highlighted 2 objects that are related to this one.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 81.3 × 63.5 × 58.4 cm (32 × 25 × 23 in.)
Cite this object as
1044-A Armchair, ca. 1935; spun aluminum, anodized aluminum, vinyl; H x W x D: 81.3 × 63.5 × 58.4 cm (32 × 25 × 23 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2018-22-78
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Energizing the Everyday: Gifts From the George R. Kravis II Collection.