Mid-century Don Shoemaker Rosewood and Leather Folding Lounge Chairs, Mexico c.1960-Price per chair

$3,750

ABOUT

Price is per chair.

Original folding lounge chairs designed by Don Shoemaker for Senal SA. The chairs are made out of Cocobolo Rosewood and upholstered in the original black leather with decorative leather pins on the top and sides. The seats can adjust to four different positions and it can be folded flat to store away. Armrests fold up. Two chairs retain the original labels. 

  • CREATOR Don Shoemaker for Senal S.A., Mexico.
  • DATE OF MANUFACTURE c.1960.
  • MATERIALS AND TECHNIQUES Leather, Cocobolo Rosewood.
  • CONDITION Good. Wear consistent with age and use. Minor wear on the leather seats. One chair is missing two leather pins on the side and one chair is missing one on the side. Some fading of finish on all. One chair has 2 inch cut in the back seat leather.
  • DIMENSIONS H 36.5 in. W 23.5 in. D 23 in., Seat Height: 18 in.

HISTORY

The chair was produced by Don Shoemaker furniture factory in Santa Maria Guido, Morelia Michoacan in the 1960's, the plant closed in the early 2000's after George Shoemaker died.

If it weren’t for his honeymoon, American furniture designer Don. S. Shoemaker might not have played any role in Mexican modernism of the mid 20th century.

Born in Nebraska in 1919, Shoemaker studied at the School of Art Institute of Chicago during the 1930s. In the 1940s he got married, and he and his wife, Barbara, ventured to Mexico for their honeymoon. Enamored with the country, Shoemaker decided that Mexico should become the newlyweds' permanent home. They settled in a town called Santa Maria de Guido in Michoacán, where Shoemaker spent his days painting and growing rare plants.

Through horticulture, Shoemaker became inspired by Mexico’s tropical woods, such as the Cocobolo, a Mexican rosewood, and he decided to delve into furniture design. In the late 1950s, he started a small factory, producing hand-carved armchairs, dining room tables, decorative boxes and bowls and serveware The popularity of Shoemaker’s furnishings grew throughout Mexico, and his small factory became the Senal S.A. company, employing more than 100 skilled artisans and carpenters.

Shoemaker’s handcrafted designs were essentially a mid-century modern interpretation of traditional Mexican household furnishings, and he found inspiration from his adopted country. These influences can be seen in iconic Shoemaker originals like the Sling collection of seating, the Suspension stool and several of his table designs.

Shoemaker's furniture was exhibited in showrooms in several major Mexican cities and across the U.S., including Houston, Chicago, and Los Angeles (and mid-century modernist ideas that traveled between Mexico and California didn't make one way trips — they bounced back and forth).

After Shoemaker died in 1990, his son George took over Señal S.A. The company closed after George’s death in the early 2000s.

Shoemaker’s Mexican modern furnishings continue to be coveted by avid furniture collectors around the world. From 2016 to 2017, the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City dedicated a retrospective exhibition to honoring his work.

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