Warren McArthur (1885-1961) for Warren McArthur Corporation prototype low chest New York, New York, 1934 white birch, machined and tubular anodized aluminum green decal 48"w x 21"d x 35"h
Provenance: Treadway Toomey Auctions, Oak Park, Illinois, 02 December 2001, Lot 925
Catalog Note: Early mid-century furniture designer Warren McArthur has experienced a renaissance in the last few decades. His tubular aluminum furniture with internal steel supports is now appreciated for its originality and durability. McArthur ingeniously developed lightweight yet sturdy furniture with pronounced joints that are incorporated into the overall aesthetic. This McArthur prototype chest was designed as part of The Schafer Collection in 1934 once the Warren McArthur Corporation had moved from Los Angeles to Rome, New York. According to Nicholas Brown, a 20th century art and design dealer and McArthur expert in Camden, Maine, "Don Schafer was Warren's upholstery foreman and the only one of four salaried employees to have his relocation paid for by the company." Part of Schafer's compensation package for moving was that McArthur would personally design a bedroom suite, writing desk and four occasional tables for the Schafer family. This chest belonged to the bedroom suite and was fashioned from "select-grade Adirondack white mountain birch and glazed in translucent lightly tinted lacquer." Brown further notes that the Schafer prototypes are especially rare since their "anodized aluminum frames, while typical in construction, are dissimilar to all other pieces" given their thicker "rectilinear tubing for horizontal structuring."