Set of six solid brass Chiavari chairs, Italy, c. 1950.
Reupholstered by the studio Vladimir Boson.
The Chiavarina was designed in 1807 by Giuseppe Gaetano Descalzi, a cabinetmaker from Chiavari, a coastal town near Genoa, Italy. The chair was a success and soon numerous manufactories were opened in Chiavari and the surrounding region. The chair was praised by Charles Albert of Savoy, Napoleon III and the sculptor Antonio Canova. The town of Chiavari presented Pope Leo XIII with a gilded chair from when it became a diocese in 1892. The success of the wooden Chiavarina declined after the introduction of Michael Thonet’s Austrian chairs from 1859, which were mass-produced and therefore cheaper.
The architect and designer Gio Ponti was inspired by the structural system of the Chiavari chair for his Superleggera chair of 1955.
In the second half of the twentieth century, the production of the Chiavarina in solid brass inspired by the wooden model of the nineteenth century was launched and met with great success.
Due to the worldwide competition from industrial production, the Chiavarina gradually declined. A few craftsmen still make wooden chairs in the traditional way. The brass Chiavarina furnishes such prestigious residences as the White House dining room in Washington, where it was photographed with Barak Obama in 2009.
Today, these chairs have become highly sought-after collector’s items.
The set of 6 chairs offered here, bought from a hotel opened in 1958 and disused in 2015, has no equal and is probably from a very limited handmade production.