A Stained Beechwood and Cane "Egg" Rocker, model no. 267, manufactured by the Società Anonima Antonio Volpe, Udineca, circa 1922
40-1/2 x 44 x 26-1/2 inches (102.9 x 111.8 x 67.3 cm)
D. Ostergard, Bent Wood and Metal Furniture: 1850 - 1946, New York, 1987, p. 87;
A. Duncan, Modernism: Modernist Design 1880 - 1940, Minneapolis, 1998, p. 201.
Until 1987 the design of this rocking chair was considered to be a work by Josef Hoffmann. The same year an original catalogue of bentwood furniture manufactured by the firm of Antonio Volpe discovered, showing this chair as model no. 267 without any reference to the designer. Antonio Volpe was one of the many businessmen in the second half of the 19th century that recognized the commercial viability of the bentwood market and established a firm in 1883 to compete with the successful Thonet firm. His firm existed until 1940.
Many of the chair's design characteristics justify the former attribution to Josef Hoffmann. Who besides Hoffmann could create such a clean and and yet erotic design? It resembles a rocking variant of Hoffmann's "Sitzmaschine". Armrests and rocker are combined into an aerodynamic oval enclosing the seat and the adjustable backrest. The slanted elements inside the oval supports not only provide the necessary structural support but also impart a visual feeling of mobility. The negative voids created by the chair's linear elements do not obstruct the room in the manner most traditional seating furniture do. A result is the perfect harmony between room and subject similar to the aesthetic of tubular metal furniture of the 1920s.
Christian Witt-Dörring, Vienna
Estimate: $15,000 - $20,000.
Surface wear and scuffs as commensurate with age.
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