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Against the Grain: Bentwood Furniture from the Collection of Fern and Manfred Steinfeld by Ghenete Zelleke, Eva B. Ottillinger & Nina Stritzler

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Against the Grain: Bentwood Furniture from the Collection of Fern and Manfred Steinfeld by Ghenete Zelleke, Eva B. Ottillinger & Nina Stritzler

4to. pp. 124. 185 illustrations. hardcover. dw. (near fine - previous owners name label on ffep). Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, [1993].

ISBN-10: 086559113X / ISBN-13: ‎ 9780865591134 

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Wood can be bent into a vast range of configurations, making it a graceful and economical choice for furniture styles from the Biedermeier to the Bauhaus. This remarkably pliant material was also the stuff of broad transformations in aesthetics, design, manufacturing, and marketing. Furnishings by the Viennese companies Gebruder Thonet and Jacob & Josef Kohn tell the history of Modernism, from the Biedermeier era, Victorian eclecticism, the Secession and Art Nouveau to the 1930s International Style. Josef Hoffmann, Otto Wagner, and Adolf Loos were among the avant-garde architects who created designs in bentwood; Modernist visionaries like Le Corbusier celebrated early Thonet chairs for their purity of form. From the innovations of a German cabinetmaker to an international conglomerate with over ten thousand workers, the evolution of bentwood furniture encapsulates the industrial revolution itself.
Against the Bentwood Furniture from the Collection of Fern and Manfred Steinfeld documents The Art Institute of Chicago's exhibition of an important private collection, with essays by three notable scholars and a catalog section of seventy-five duotone reproductions. Art Institute curator Ghenete Zelleke outlines the stylistic transformations of bentwood furniture between the 1850s and the 1920s, discussing consumer taste in the development of furniture forms and the impact of historical shifts and aesthetic reform. Eva B. Ottillinger examines both the technical developments that led to industrialization and the marketing strategies that enabled mass consumption. Nina Stritzler discusses Thonet after 1922 as a leader in tubular-steel furniture by such architects as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and assesses the impact of industrial design and the corporate style on post-World War furniture.
Seventy-five excellent bentwood examples from the Steinfeld collection are illustrated in this catalog, with entries by Ghenete Zelleke. Against the Grain also includes a preface by the collector and an appendix with eighty black-and-white reproductions of other pieces of furniture in the collection.