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Furniture ➔ Balloon Back Armchair

Identifier:
1999.60.3
Description:
Classic Rococo Revival balloon back form. Backrest is modified finger molded frame with foliate carving on each side, surrounding upholstered center. Fabric is black with multi-colored ceter floral bouquet. Fabric is attached with brass upholstery tacks. Back frame becomes stiles which continue as back legs. Horseshoe-shaped seat with serpentine front is upholstered with same fabric. Finger-molded apron. Armrests attach to backrest frame and front stiles, and feature black fabric-upholstered cushions. Front stiles are foliate scroll-carved, and continue as cabriole legs, terminating in slipper feet.;Vander Ley Brothers Furniture Victorian Revival Furniture of this type was purchased for and used in the movie sets for Gone With the Wind. It was produced by a local furniture manufacturer. This chair will be used in The Furniture City exhibition.;Purchased by seller's parents.;The fashionable bell-shaped skirts worn during the Civil War were often so wide women could not fit into chairs with arms. This lead to the popularity of low, wide, armless upholstered chairs called slipper chairs. They were usually sold in sets with sofas and larger, armed chairs of the same design made for the “gentleman of the house.�
Date:
circa 1945
Materials:
Upholterered, Woven To Give The Appearance Of Needlepoint, Carving, Cherry, Fabric, Brass
Dimensions:
39.5" h 27" w 24" d
Current Location Status:
In Storage
Source:
Museum Purchase
Exhibits/Programs
Furniture City (1994 – 2013)
Furniture City was one of the signature core exhibits installed at the Grand Rapids Public Museum's new Van Andel Museum Center when it opened in 1994.  At approximately 10,000 square feet, the exhibit occupied a significant portion of the museum's second floor and contained hundreds of pieces of Grand Rapids Furniture.  The exhibition was accompanied by the authoritative book on the subject, "Grand Rapids Furniture", by GRPM curator Christian Carron.  The Furniture City exhibit told a comprehensive story of the Furniture Industry in Grand Rapids, from its origins in the years after the Civil War, up to the present day with office and fixed seating manufacturers like Steelcase and American Seating.  The exhibition was significantly reduced in size in 2013 to make room for a new gallery, and was finally closed in 2019.

Furniture Highlights (October 1 2014)
Highlights from the Grand Rapids Public Museum's collection of over 2,000 pieces of furniture.
Makers/Donors
Vander Ley Brothers, Incorporated
Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Manufacturer of fine revivals and reproductions of upholstered parlor seating and tables. Vander Ley is perhaps most famous because Warner Brothers Studios used Vander Ley furniture for the set of the motion picture, Gone With the Wind. The company became a subsidiary of John Widdicomb Co. in 1951. Members of the Vander Ley family later opened the Homestead Shop.


Patsy Wassenaar

Hennink, Thelma
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