Guglielmo Ulrich (1904-77); A Superb Ebonised Open Armchair c.1940

Origin: Italian
Period: Mid-Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1940
Height: 37” or 17.5” at seat
Width: 24.5”
Depth: 24.5” (all at extremities)

The striking and wonderfully designed ebonised beech open armchair or elbow chair by Guglielmo Ulrich (1904-77), having a jade green vinyl seat and back, the angular arms with brass stud detailing, surviving from the second quarter of twentieth century Italy.

In almost perfect order the chair has wear only commensurate with age and use, with no flaws to report. There is wear to the ebonised finish in places; as one would expect.

Guglielmo Ulrich was born in 1904 in Milan, to a notable family of Danish descent, which is perhaps where he first developed his meticulous taste and appreciation for elegance and refinement. Though of the time, his work is not always easily recognisable as being from the period in which it was conceived. Ulrich reinvented traditional 18th- and 19th-century sophistication in a form combining contemporary comfort and panache. His evolutionary technique is perhaps most evident in his many progressive chair designs, as we see here, while other more autonomous pieces would be developed into a series of variations on one theme. By the 1940s,when this chair was designed, there was a strengthening of the relationship between interior decoration and new artistic disciplines, which played a large role in the future of Italian design in the period after War War II.

For the majority of Ulrich's work the common theme is that his furniture is deliberately visible against the backdrop of the room. It is not supposed to blend in; subtlety was not a priority or even a consideration when it came to most of his designs.

In short, this piece is a wonderful example of that striking sculptural visibility.