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26 March 2009

The Loop Chair Update

Gather your pennies - this may be your only chance to own a pair of bona fide Frances Elkins loop chairs. In the Sotheby's New York In Celebration of the English Country House sale on April 9th, all four of the extant documented Elkins loop chairs will be on the block.

Click here to read more or here to bid.

Sold as pairs - lots 84 and 85 - circa 1934, each with an estimate of $6000-$8000.

You may see a pair of white ones for sale at Doyle New York attributing them to Frances Elkins. Caveat emptor: they do not have the dipped seat and they are not documented! If you're after the look alone, then the estimate is a friendlier $1200-1800.
UPDATE: Each pair of Elkins Loop chairs sold for $5938 (including buyers premium) at the April 9, 2009 Sotheby's New York sale. A very good buy.

13 comments:

Jill said...

That's always been one of my favorite styles.

Rose C'est La Vie said...

I've got the very place for them but not the dollars sadly. But great to see them here.

soodie :: said...

Excellent Emily! I eagerly await to see how high the realized prices reach. As always, thanks for the info.

pve design said...

Loop de loop, those chairs have always reminded me of an amusement park and some sort of roller coaster ride all done in "Calligraphy" - all done in India Ink, all in black. Now that would be my kinda bona fide ride.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Oh yes, Patricia, like a Cy Twombly or Elliot Puckette...

Anonymous said...

The great Loop Chair scam is finally revealed! Sad for all those dealers and buyers who have been buying "attributed" chairs for the last few years but great for history of furniture design. Now we all know what a actual Elkins Loop Chair looks like and how much better her vision was than some had been giving her credit for...

Thank you for being true to your profession!

Anonymous said...

SOTHEBY'S AUTHENTIC LOOP CHAIR SALE DISAPPOINTS!

Today the only authenticated set of 4 Frances Elkins Loop chairs that have ever been sold (since Elkins herself sold to them to her clients in the 30s) or may even be inexistent fetched a disappointing
$5,938.00. (including buyers premium) per pair. That is less per pair than a number of fake Elkins Loop Chairs currently or recently offered in the market.

I suppose this is a stunning example of how the value of something can be completely diffused when the real thing shows up way too late after being popularized and knocked off. Not even The Art Institute of Chicago cared to bid on these rare Midwestern icons of 20th century decorating.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Anonymous, can you believe it?! Indeed, it is very depressing that this documented original went for less than the knock-offs. This was the perfect opportunity for an institution to add them to their collection, but, alas, the vision is lacking to give this period of 20th century design its due.

Mark my words - these will show up in some dealer's inventory and go for exponentially more - as they should.

Anonymous said...

At the Christie's auction in 2006 of the Kersey Coates Reed furniture also by Elkins another set of 4 card chairs also 20th century copies of an 18th century design went for $50,000.00. Elkins made 3 sets of this particular model all of which are still in existence and they have no particular notoriety other than being great looking.

I do hope you are right about the chairs showing up in a shop with a BIG tag because this would make a statement about what is the real thing and how much more it should cost than a fake.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Anonymous, you are an Elkins fiend! looked them up in the catalogue and the lot of four were estimated at a mere $2-3000 - which is obviously a ridiculous estimate, as even without the Elkins provenance and just as repros, they were worth more. But the Loop chairs are - dare I say it - iconic and maybe aren't worth the millions of the Eileen Gray YSL chair, but certainly more than $3000 a piece. I'm sure you with your eagle eyes will be the first to see where they resurface.

Anonymous said...

Hi there- I got the 4 Loop chairs and have sent them to a conservator to stabalize them and determine the original paint color. Very neat discovery today- they were originally BRIGHT yellow, then painted bright white, then grey blue and then black. Thought this would be interestng to this group. And no they will not end up with a dealer for much more (most dealers cant afford to buy inventory or support prices in this market-making it a good time for the rest of us to buy). They will be with me- and if ever a museum wants them then i will give them when the time comes.

Emily Evans Eerdmans said...

Anonymous, can you hear the collective sigh of relief that the chairs are in such excellent hands?!

No doubt you already read this update on the Magazine Antiques website about the color changes the chairs have seen, but for others, here is an excerpt. Go here to read all:
http://www.themagazineantiques.com/news-opinion/discovery/2009-02-03/the-it-chair-a-postscript/


This was certainly interesting. Then, Peter Lang at Sotheby's let us know that the article had flushed out the four chairs made by Frances Elkins in 1934 for the Leslie Wheeler house in Lake Forest, Illinois. Sotheby's plans to offer the set at auction this April.

Lang put us in touch with Mrs. Charles H. Gedge, the consignor, who now lives in Minneapolis. Reached on the telephone, Mrs. Gedge recalls a day "sometime in the late 1960s, or perhaps 1970 or '71" when she noticed an unusual amount of traffic on Mayflower Road. "Lake Forest was just a quiet town then and I wondered why there were so many cars, so I took a walk," she said. "The old Wheeler house was just a few doors down, and that was where all the activity was. It was the Prentice estate sale. Mrs. Wheeler had been remarried to Clarence Prentice years before and had still owned that wonderful David Adler house."

Mrs. Gedge had a look around and ended up taking home the Elkins chairs and a few other pieces that day. "The room looked exactly the same as it does in that black and white photo from the thirties," she recalled. "The chairs were painted a horrible dirty cream-beige color. Mrs. Elkins and all the decorators used it and it was the color in all our mothers' houses... that and blue. I just hated it. But I took them home for the bridge table in our garden room. I had them painted bright yellow."

Andrea said...

Mrs. Gedge is my grandmother and so I had the privilege of sitting in those chairs for most of my 23 years. Until recently I had no idea they were so rare! But I loved them, and I hope they're in good hands now.