Research Revisited-Harvey Probber piece

 Bent Mahogany Base is held by a brass stretcher rod.  Probber did have some famous dining chairs that also utilize the brass rod and curved slats but we all know there are tons of knock offs or just plain likeness designs out there, I just really wanted to see this in print.   

Bent Mahogany Base is held by a brass stretcher rod.  Probber did have some famous dining chairs that also utilize the brass rod and curved slats but we all know there are tons of knock offs or just plain likeness designs out there, I just really wanted to see this in print.   

Earlier this year I won a beautiful little side table with a bent wood slatted x base.  Not many turned up but the piece along with a similar magazine rack seem to get attributed to Harvey Probber.  If you know me at all, you know I never believe others when they say ‘attributed to’ and prefer to do my own research. Over the summer I was able to review a Probber catalog at the Philadelphia Athenaeum Museum, which is basically an architectural museum and library.  The small catalog was more of a brochure and did not contain the table.  I did, however, discuss what I was looking for with the librarian who recommended I check both Winterthur and Hagley in Wilmington, DE.  Both of these museums are in the realm of the DuPont family and document industrial history.  I checked Hagley’s holdings and they had 2 Probber items I could review.  Unlike most places I visit, they were able to pull them while I waited.  

***RESEARCH TIP***  Most larger libraries have off site storage and it is very important you make an appointment in advance to review something specific in the collection.  

I am not an experienced Probber dealer so I could not determine much by the construction alone.  It was obvious there was veneer used. The design was impressive and the use of the brass piece was definitely not your average look but I needed to learn more. Check out the catalogs are always a help.  Sadly, there are really no resources online for Probber and his works that I found.     I must say, after making the trip to Wilmington, I so enjoyed the perusal.  So first I looked at The Kill Collection.  It was a thin catalog that just featured pieces from this collection.  Everything in this collection is metal.  It is really lovely but not was I was looking for.  The Librarian returned with the other catalog.  This always makes me take a deep breath as I wonder if I will find my answer or go home with more questions after exhausting the 3 catalogs that are housed within 2 hours of me.  When I took a look at the tabbed hard cover bound book, I was optimistic. Where to start?  I turned to the Occassional section first. There were some side tables in the area but I did not find my table.  My heart began to sink again.  By this point, my goal was to get as much info out of this book as possible.  There were wood chip samples of the finishes offered. I also realized that Probber sold directly to the trade. That means in order to buy his furniture, you needed to be working with an interior designer or architect.  That cuts out a lot of middle America and also reminds me that these designer high end pieces will not be found easily.  

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I flipped to the beginning and started to find small pieces again so my optimism returned.  And finally, I found what I was looking for.  I high fived the kids, who had reluctantly accompanied me on this trip, and sat for a bit taking it all in.   

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 Finish options. So cool that the sample chips were included! 

Finish options. So cool that the sample chips were included! 

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There were also plastic laminate chips of which only a white one was still intact.  I believe my top to be plastic laminate.  This particular piece and the magazine rack were not listed in the price list. Bummer.  This book was a 1957 publication, by the way.  

So excited I was able to authenticate this piece! I hope I get to visit the Probber catalog again in the future! His designs were fabulous and I would call him more transitional than mcm purist.  Unlike many of the lower end pieces, these are less kitschy and fun and all grace and elegance.  

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Prior to my stop at Hagley, I visited a fabric outlet in Newark.  It was worth the stop even though most fabrics were $20 or so a yard.  I picked up 5 yards and feel like I know where I am going with that Knoll Antimott Chair now.  I often hate to commit to fabrics and colors without a buyer but intelligent me knows most people don’t have enough imagination to choose.  I wanted something colorful with a bold print.  I have 3 yards of this (yellow/blue) I want to make the cushions out of.  I also got 2 yards of another navy/turquoise/royal geometric weave.  Both fabrics are indoor/outdoor and treated for fade resistance and sun protection but feel like a standard upholstery fabric. I think they will both do great in dining chair and high use applications.  Stay tuned!  If you are interested in purchasing the Knoll Antimott chair, there is still time to dictate the details.  Reach out!  I am half way through my income tax class and still very busy.  Working on adding new listings in between homework.  Please keep your eyes to my shops so you don’t miss anything!

LOCAL?  RENTALS FOR PHOTO SHOOTS!  looking for the perfect accessory for photographing the kids? If I have a piece you’d love to borrow for a day or a few hours, let’s chat!  I know I have some friends in photography and I would love to work out some rentals for your holiday shoots!  

NEW ARRIVALS!

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Awesome petite church pew bench. Only 53”! Pinterest this and see how hot they area! In a dining nook, foyer or hall, mud room and so much more!  Can work with primitive, eclectic and farmhouse looks too.  This pew came out of a church in South Jersey years ago.  The family is relocating to the west coast and leaving some things behind.  Painted, chippy finish, antiqued.   

 Smalls include 2 huge glass pharmaceutical bottles, a neat pair of wood owl salt and pepper (grinder) made in India and a real clean scale.  Listings will be up soon.  Another treat for me.....that great wrap! 💕👌

Smalls include 2 huge glass pharmaceutical bottles, a neat pair of wood owl salt and pepper (grinder) made in India and a real clean scale.  Listings will be up soon.  Another treat for me.....that great wrap! 💕👌

Please note if you are searching for large furniture items in time for the holidays, I suggest you commit now.  Greyhound can take up to 2 months and this year has been on the longer side.  White glove shipping as well can take that long.  My uship guys are a little quicker but it really hinders on where they are in the schedule when we book them.  Pick up can be a week or two out.  I take care of all the booking and logistics for you so no worries! Let me assist you in creating a cozy home for the holidays! XO MALISSA

Another research day in the books.

Last week I got to spend a few hours in Philadelphia after picking up some new inventory which a past client sold me as he gets ready to move out of the country.  I decided to keep the dining table so will be offering up my Heywood Wakefield triple wishbone table and dog bone chairs shortly.  If you are seeking, I can sell this set in need of a little refinishing (6 chairs our of 7).    I am thrilled with the round Herman Miller Architect's table and it really fits my room alot better.  For as much as I loved the Heywood set, it really is a large piece even with no leaves inserted!  That said, reach out if it interests you!

 The beautiful building of the Philly Athenaeum. The library is on the 2nd floor.

The beautiful building of the Philly Athenaeum. The library is on the 2nd floor.

The finale of the trip was a Harvey Probber catalog on reserve at the Philadelphia Athenaem.  This museum is an architect's museum.  So you can expect blue prints, buildings and other items of interest.  Harvey Probber furniture is actually more transitional than MCM.  More like Dunbar and Edward Wormley designs.  These designers played on traditional designs so you will see modern elements-curves and angles in tandem with tradition materials like cane and lots of brass bling.  Check first dibs and you will see a Probber piece will set you back quite a bit.  So now you know why I spend so much time on authentification.  If it truly is a Probber, it is a rarer piece.  None of my comps have labels and neither does mine.  Rule #1 of MCM.....never trust it because you SAW it on the internet.  PROOF PROOF PROOF.  If you are spending your money on something of provenance and the dealer does not provide you with adequate proof of this, or at least a well thought out reason to why they believe it is legit....keep walking.  Unless you really love the piece and do not care if it's legit, of course.  

 My suspected Probber piece.  The brass rod is a common thread with other Probber pieces.  I have seen magazine racks like this that do not have the table top.  None of my comps are labeled.  

My suspected Probber piece.  The brass rod is a common thread with other Probber pieces.  I have seen magazine racks like this that do not have the table top.  None of my comps are labeled.  

The librarian was waiting with my materials when I arrived for the scheduled appointment.  The folio contained just a small catalog.  I was able to take pics (as is common with museums and collections.....they want to protect their collections and do not want bad photos published.  Makes sense.  Copy right protection is real.  SO I cannot share any pics with you of the catalog but she is safe there in Philadelphia waiting for you to sign her out for the hour.  It may have had about 50 pages, in black and white with some nice photography.  The really cool X or scissors chairs that have a brass rod similar to my table were in there as were some other things I recognized from around the web.  The note on the chairs said '...The new "Probber" chair is distinguished by its elegance of line, achieved through the application of new electronic laminating techniques used in its manufacture.'  Probber was young....like 15 when he started pitching furniture designs to companies.  He really was a go getter.  His line of modular couches were one of the first in the realm.  He had his own furniture company for many years, selling through designers and did a lot of custom work.  Classy is the best way I can describe his designs.  Innovative as well.  So my table or similar magazine rack was not in the booklet.  I was told about 2 places in Delaware where I can expand my search.  I plan on investigating the holdings at Wintethur and Hayley.

BACK TO THE CUTTOLI LEGER RUG..... 

I also received a few documents from my friend at Kykuit.  These were published by scholars and I could not find a free copy to view but she managed to get me a copy and I am ever so thankful.  The one I really thought would be a great read, in fact, was!  Published by Virginia Gardner Troy, 'Easel Tapestries: The American Reception of the Marie Cuttoli Tapestries 1930s-1950s' hit the mark.  Ms Troy really delves into the history of Cuttoli and her creations and then the element of reproduction of an artists work.  She works through the timeline from the original tapestry series of the 1930s through the exhibition and reception of the works into the 1960s editions.  I found what I was looking for when she touched on this specifically with the following regarding Nelson Rockefeller: “10 years later (1962) he purchased Matisse’s ‘Papeete’ and 2 Leger carpets from Cuttoli via her partnership with Galarie Lucie Weill in Paris.  Both tapestries were deaccessioned by the 1970s.”  The literal meaning of deaccessioned is when a listed item is removed from a collection most likely to sell to raise funds.  We know those rugs were not sold as they still reside at Kykuit and are once again on display to the public.  Amazing how much information gets lost in a relatively short period of time!  Troy cites documents from the Rockefeller archives which means the information exists but to reasonably piece this story together takes numerous sources of varying origins.  It is quite fascinating to discover this and now I have proof of what I figured out some time ago.  This chapter can now be closed and I can say without a doubt what I have.  As to which socialite and art collector owned mine.....I guess I may never figure that out. 🤷‍♂️

New acquisitions.

i have been adding some really neat items to my inventory.  Here is a quick overview.  

 

 Contemporary Italian chrome bar cart. 

Contemporary Italian chrome bar cart. 

 Amazing Morris of Glasgow (yes, Scotland) mixed teak and mahogany veneer credenza.  Designed by Neil Morris.  Features angled shelves and felt lined top drawer.

Amazing Morris of Glasgow (yes, Scotland) mixed teak and mahogany veneer credenza.  Designed by Neil Morris.  Features angled shelves and felt lined top drawer.

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 Unmarked teak danish style hutch.  Features glass doors (not pictured), 2 drawers and bottom cabinet.  Compact size to display your collections.  

Unmarked teak danish style hutch.  Features glass doors (not pictured), 2 drawers and bottom cabinet.  Compact size to display your collections.  

 Currently working on rebuilding this bench and I have a buyer who is customizing it with me. New strapping installed!

Currently working on rebuilding this bench and I have a buyer who is customizing it with me. New strapping installed!

More coming!  I just sold the first danish style lounge and have another that I will be restrapping and making cushions for.  Keep your eyes peeled to my Instagram or Facebook so you don’t miss anything!

Have a great week!  XO MALISSA

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From DRAB to FAB- my latest restoration is ready to rock!

Just picked up the maple platform rocker from the upholsterer and boy is it on point in many ways.  This rocker (of unknown origin) is made of solid maple and has a platform base.  It dates to the art deco era of the 20s/30s.  It was a family piece but the owner was downsizing and her children did not want it.  Anyway, the original fabric was pretty neat but had rips and lots of dirt.  So I decided this one was a great candidate to be made over.  I found this great IKAT print on the cheap ($20/yard normally!) and it was just what I was looking for.  Not only is cobalt/white totally hot right now, so is boho prints.  This piece is so awesome and comfy with it's newly rebuilt structure and it's new threads.  I can see this being a super piece for a nursery, bedroom or den.  If you love bohemian or it's plant inspired cousin, Jungalow style, this piece is for you!  Grab it now and make it part of your family traditions!  I have lots of this fabric left so will be able to offer it for more projects coming!  Listing is live on ETSY and will probably be live in about a week on chairish.  If you need shipping, reach out.  My UShip connection is now doing nationwide delivery and I will reach out for a quote.  I do not mind packing it for you and trust him more than Greyhound for a restored piece.  

 Exquisite workmanship!  This chair is ready for a whole new life!  Click on the pick to open the etsy listing in a new window.

Exquisite workmanship!  This chair is ready for a whole new life!  Click on the pick to open the etsy listing in a new window.

I have some more pieces coming in very soon.  If you are looking for a teak hutch in a compact size for storing your collectibles or china, I have a sweet one picked out.  I also have a gorgeous long and low credenza in teak by UK maker Morris.  It is Danish in look but oh so classy.  Morris of Glasgow furnished ships and even royalty and has a super history.  I will be able to offer these fine pieces at very good prices.  Remember, my online markets are priced to cover my fees.  If you want to deal directly with me and especially so if you are in delivery or meet up areas, please reach out to me via email or message.  I expect to have these pieces in the next few weeks.  Thanks so much for your support as I try to keep things moving!  Please send friends or others who are shopping for furniture if you think they'd like my style.  

BIG FUN NEWS!

Victorian ON FIRE.  So I took in a few out of my normal era pieces recently and no worries, I am not switching teams, but when I see a visually interesting piece in great condition, I want to help it get to a home where it can be appreciated and adored.  So I took in the green settee with some reservations but I knew the repair would be straightforward.  I got the velvet and hand stitched to the cushions to cover up the doggie damage and I was so pleased how it turned out.  Because I have a lot of larger items in my storage right now and it was the perfect size to add to my small retail space, I took it out.  So glad I did!  It was found by a production company who came through the Mall and they snapped it up for a new show being shot for fall.  It is called TELL ME A STORY.  It sounds like my kind of show too!  A horror based on child stories but taking place in NYC.  I'm hooked!  I also saw the stack of other furniture they bought and they are def going for a gothic vibe.  So we all have something to look forward to this fall and I will be looking for my pretty couch in the series!  I believe it was a CBS series.  Will post more when I find out when it is starting to air.  

I am caught up on my work for the moment so getting back to my notes.  This weekend is my big visit to Kykuit and I am so excited to hang out and talk about Marie Cuttoli and her fabulous contributions to the art and textile worlds.  If you check my Facebook page (Facebook.com/madformodmalissa) you will see a little blurb I posted about Marie Cuttoli last week.  She is so fascinating and I hope you all enjoy the short introduction.  CLICK HERE

Have a great week everyone!  xo Malissa