A Rare MCM Plycraft Chair by George Mulhauser

When you hear the name George Mulhauser, there’s probably one or two very distinct chairs, maybe even three that come to mind. But I bet this chair I’m about to show you isn’t one of them!

When I saw this reference to a mystery chair in House Beautiful

Quirky Green Chair

The mystery chair: Frank saw it in an antiques store, fell in love with it, and has no idea who designed it.

I knew I had to write this piece! For that mystery chair was this one I pinned about 17 weeks ago! And at the time I didn’t know anything about it either.

Pinterest via Wool Acorn / From House Beautiful

And then I came across this page on the Suburban Pioneer website.
According to the item description the incredible designer behind this unique chair was George Mulhauser. Who knew? If I had to guess the designer I would have headed towards Norman Cherner.

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Doesn’t the curve of the back and arms remind you of the Cherner armchair? Well the arms minus the artistic scroll!

I love the sassy position of the arms and their scroll. To me  it looks like the chair is standing with its hands on its hips!

Here are a few more of the Mulhauser chairs I was able to find.

I’m not loving the fabric on this one…

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But back in 2008 it sold for $2160!

I don’t mind the striped fabric on this swivel desk chair, but I’m thinking the seat has been reupholstered.

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Notice the seams and button detail? The other chairs don’t have this. Did you notice this chair is also without an upholstered back?

This next chair is not a desk chair, it’s the Mulhauser bentwood armchair.

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See how the style has changed to a round base? This chair is also c. 1965, and in 2008 apparently it sold for $1320.

This armchair has been reupholstered in white vinyl, and it looks like the arm and seat base still need to be reattached.

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Though it’s hard to see from this photo, the vintage ivory lacquer is most likely not original. Can  you see how it’s lightly distressed on the curve of the arms?

How fun is this set?

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It’s a Mulhauser Sultana set, and according to the write-up on Ebay, it’s very rare. The asking price is $6100 US, if that’s any indication of just how rare this set is!

And here’s another set I came across on So Eclectic blog. I love the story that goes with it…

Mary writes:

Look at this patio set. It’s so awesome with it’s lime green chippy paint, unique curvy wood, and the white faux leather.

And then she posts this UPDATE:

I believe that these are George Mulhauser Plycraft Chairs. Which would make them a whole lot more than what they were listed for in the store. Awesome. Wish I would have been able to snag these!

Isn’t that the truth! Sometimes it helps to know what ‘exactly’ you’re looking at! But then you have to decide if it’s cool because you like it, or if it’s cool because you know the value of it. It’s subtle, but makes a difference.

And that’s why it’s so much fun to write these posts. I learn, and in turn try to share some of this with you! It makes thrifting and antiquing that much more interesting… you know, to have a little knowledge about some of the things you might stumble upon. And these Mulhauser bentwood pieces are a great example of that.

Did you know this chair was designed by George Mulhauser?  Have you seen it before?

It’s about coming home… If you want a remarkable space that tells your story, contact me to see how we can help!

THANKS FOR READING!

xo

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The Cherner Chair Story

The Cherner Chair… one of my first Mid-Century Modern (MCM) loves. Everything about it makes me stop and gaze.

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But did you know there was controversy behind this one, too?

The story actually makes me feel protective of the Cherner Chair…

If you see this chair identified as Plycraft’s Rockwell chair, that’s because of this Norman Rockwell illustration.

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Which was featured on the front page of the Saturday Evening Post, September 1961.

The painting is not the problem. In fact, it’s kind of fun… but then that’s the nature of Rockwell’s work. No, it’s the fact that the Cherner Chair is sometimes referred to as the Plycraft Chair.

Without getting into the long details (read them here), the short version is that Norman Cherner had been hired by Plycraft’s Paul Goldman to design a sturdier version of George Nelson and team’s Pretzel Chair. It was Nelson’s recommendation that Cherner and Goldman collaborate…

When Cherner presented Goldman with his design he was told the project was scrapped. Lo and behold, six months later, Cherner saw the chair on a showroom floor for sale! The label indicated the chair was from Plycraft with the design attributed to “Bernardo”. Cherner sued Plycraft and won… And, Goldman admitted that Bernardo was a fictitious name. Seriously!

In the end Plycraft was still legally allowed to produce the Cherner Chair, but had to pay Cherner royalties and give him proper credit. If you see the Cherner Chair identified as the Plycraft Chair, or the Plycraft Rockwell Chair, this is how that came to be… but not the way it needs to be.

Isn’t this a great space?

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There’s always a story behind every piece!

But here’s another story that’s a bit more amusing, and certainly illustrates a stroke of luck.

Notice the Cherner Chairs?

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Well they were found sitting beside a dumpster by this gentleman, Chris Gulley. Yes, that’s right. A dumpster! Can you imagine? And they have been verified as authentic 1958 Cherner Chairs. And just to put perspective on the dollar value of this lucky discovery, a Cherner reproduction is worth upwards of $1000. So an authentic Cherner… well, you do the math!

Unmistakable, shapely, and innovative…

Do you see the Cherner chair a little differently now?

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Isn’t it amazing how powerful a story can be? Thank you Norman Cherner for such a gorgeous design!

 Thanks for stopping by!

Photograph source linked below each photograph.