Sunday, June 12, 2011

Who is Arthur Umanoff?

So very little is known about Arthur Umanoff's career and designs outside of his most recognizable work for Shaver Howard. But there was more, so much more...

Over the coming months I will be working on expanding the available knowledge base on this truly remarkable american designer.

Hope you enjoy the show!

30 comments:

  1. I am a huge fan of umanoff's work. My family is also from Ardsley. Is there any information about him that you have? I also collect some of his work.
    Thanks,
    Frank

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  2. There's tons more information that I have on Arthur Umanoff. I'll be expanding the information on here over the weeks to come (whenever I find the free time).

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  3. I just bought 4 barstools that look to me to be Umanoff classic slatted barstools except for the fact that the base the chair is sitting on is wooden rather than metal. I've been looking online to see if I can find any info about authenticating the stools, but as yet have come up short. The base and the seat appear to be the same age as the wood grain is similar and have aged to roughly the same color. I'd be happy to send pictures if you'd like a look. I don't see any markings on any of the chairs with the exception of a partial stamp on the bottom of one that says made in the USA. Any ideas? If you don't know would you be so kind as to direct me to someone who might? Thanks!

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  4. I have a bar set with two stools I'm sure are Umanoffs. The stools are the slat back and seat design but the stand up bar is sort of a cross between the bar carts I've seen with a stand up bar. It's about 42" h x 48" w, and has 3 different color panels on the front instead of the 3" slats. I haven't seen anything else like it. Do these pieces have manufacturers markings in any particular place? I'd like to positively identify it thus set so I can price it for sale. I have pics and I can email them. Are there any old catalogs or other ads that might show them? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  5. Please send em some photos and I will see what i can do to help you out. There's an email link in my complete profile.

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  6. They're on their way. Thanks Jonathan.

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  7. Did you get the photos I emailed you yesterday Jonathan?

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  8. Yes I did Mark and e-mailed you a response earlier this AM. I would say your bar is a 1960's variation by Arthur Umanoff for Shaver Howard. Take a look at the e-mail I sent for more detailed information.

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  9. Art Umanoff was the main designer for Madison Furniture Industries, Canton, Mississippi. He lived in Dobbs Ferry, NY along the Hudson River.
    I visited him in his office in Downtown NYC and at this residence.

    Madison was acquired by Shelby Williams Industries in 1966, and I retired from Madison in 1973 and now live in Madison, MS

    Lou Shornick Age 93

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  10. Thanks I love Umanoff and am looking forward to more info. Thanks for the old ads more inspired than ever to time travel

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  11. My business partner used to work with Arthur Umanoff and can probably give you some insight. Send me a message if you would like to get in contact.

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    3. Hello Maxwell

      I'm afraid there is no way to contact you directly via blogger. I can only hope that you pop in to read the comments here. Please drop me a line at straylight dot wandering at gmail dot com.

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  12. He also designed a number of clocks for Howard Miller - but nowadays most seem to be attributed to George Nelson. Do you have any info on on his work for Howard Miller?

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  13. I have a wooden bowl (leaf shape) with label on bottom "Sculptured Mahogany by Umanoff" distributed by Raymor. Wondering what value it may have. It's been in our home as long as I can remember. I think my parents bought it when they were running a furniture store in Waco Texas. My husband & I love it.

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  14. If you love it then it's priceless Diane.

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  15. Hi. Arthur was my grandfathers brother. I don't remember him but I know something's about his life and certainly know people who would know more. I am also interested in his professional life. I would love to know more or help if I can. Thanks.

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  16. Do all of the Aurthur Umanoff slat wood bar stools have solid backs? I have a pair of bar stools that have slat wood seats and backs and black metal legs. All the photos of the Umanoff bar stools have solid backs.

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  17. GoodOldDaysTreasures: If you do a Google image search for Arthur Umanoff stools, you'll see that there are a few different styles of bar stools: some slatted, some solid, and some with rush backs...

    Which leads to my question for Jonathan, if you can get this specific- do you know if the bar stools with rush backs originally used rush fiber or real cattail rush? I recently found a pair of stools in sad shape with their backs missing. I'd like to re-rush them and would prefer to use the materials that were originally on them. Thanks for any insight!

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    1. Catastrophe: According to the earliest catalog I have for the Umanoff/Shaver Howard production (1954) the chairs had "hand-woven fibre rush back".

      Everything the I have ever seen and examined has always utilized what I would call "twisted paper cord" which I suppose is more correctly referred to as "fiber rush"… This material was lightly lacquered with a clear semi gloss lacquer over once in place.

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  18. Thank you Catastrophe. The only ones I found with both slatted backs and seats were on eBay or Etsy. I wondered if the sellers were correct in saying they were Umanoff. I couldn't find these listed anywhere other than sellers listings. I also sell at an antique mall and on Etsy. I plan to list these, however I don't want to misrepresent them if they are reproductions. Is there any way to tell the real thing from a reproduction?

    Thanks!

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  19. GoodOldDaysTreasures: There are to the best of my knowledge no modern day reproductions of Arthur Umanoff's designs. There were however several period copies dating to the 50's and 60's that I have identified. The most common being a tubular steel version of the wood slat back stools. Also a wooden base version of the slat back chairs.

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  20. So most likely a stool with a wooden base would be a reproduction?

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  21. As a Christmas gift, in 1962, I was given a child's table and two chairs. My parents bought the set at a furniture store. As best as my Mom can remember, it was $50. I still have this complete set! My children used it and now my granddaughter uses it. If you'd like to see a picture, I'd be happy to send you one.
    Thank you for your research and passing the information on to others who are interested in Umanoff's designs.

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  22. Would you be willing to look at a photo of a dining table and chairs I have to let me know if you believe it to be Umanoff? I have been eating at this table for years and have not known the designer and would love to know. Thanks.

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  23. Hello looking for some basic info on Raymore lines of furniture whats the history or backround of that?

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  24. I think I found some really beautiful Umanoff stools-- these are the rattan stools-- the ones I found though have brown and black weave in the rattan; whereas most pictures I found of these stools have all brown. Any thoughts?

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  25. Hi, We recently bought some Umanoff (esque?) bar stools and were wondering how we can authenticate them. They have : slatted wood backs and seats with black tubular legs and back supports, a chrome foot rest "ring", and a swivel mechanism in black metal. I can send pictures if that would help.

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