Monday, November 1, 2010

What makes a RETRO chair RETRO ?

All of these chairs are going up on ebay tonight and they all have something in common. They all have the word RETRO in my ebay listing title.
That got me to thinking what is a Retro chair? How far does the definition extend ? Does it refer to a look or a time period? Because...

This "sleepy hollow" chair would date from the 1960's.

and this Don Rex couch also dates from the late 1960's.

But these Wassily chairs while dating from the 1980's were designed by Marcel Breuer in the 1920's.
And these butterfly Chairs were designed by Jorge Ferrari-Hardoy, Antonio Bonet and Juan Kurchan in Argentina in 1938.

And yet still, these Cane Bar stools, classic so called 'Boho',would date from late 1980's early 1990's.
I guess the R in Retro, no matter what decade it dates from or what shape or style it takes, is simply a rejection of anything that smacks of the solid wooden forms of the Georgian, the Victorian and the Edwardian. Perhaps a non anglophile would say the British Empire.

To see all my ebay auctions for this week please click here or you can email me at


  1. I just had a long twitter conversation with some fellow bloggers are butterfly chairs. I wish I had a couple to use my front porch or on my patio. You ROCK when it comes to finding great stuff.

  2. Oh, butterfly chairs! I'm so sad. I have no money. I would have definitely bid on them. Curses!

    Love the Wassily chairs, too.

    I'm crying here.

  3. That's interesting, I would not have thought it could go back so far as the 20's. It does make sense that it's a style rather than era per se. :)

  4. Yes very much agreed, I use the term "retro" more to do with a design and feel rather than a particular time frame although of course it was more predominate in the 70's over all (and even that is subject to interpretation). Most excellent finds indeed, that sleepy hollow chair is totally coool!!

  5. An interesting question. I think it depends on your generation and not a fixed period in time. I consider my parents generation of furniture as Retro, which is anything from around the 60's 70's & 80's. Younger generations may consider a later period of time as retro. Interesting...

  6. Well I'll be a bit literal here.. but retro.. retrospective.. really just refers to a nod to the past.. or different era.. but having said that.. YES.. why not antique pieces of the colonial ilk.. it does seem more to be used for quirky... Mind you don't you hate it when they refer to music from our era as retro!! hahaha or worse.. just things from early 2000 as retro.. makes me feel sooooo old..

    Sorry about the stupid comment.. have a lovely week ciao xxx Julie

  7. Katherine. Why do you do this to me??? So many fabulous pieces with no more shed space to store!!! It's interesting how much of the Art Deco era was revived in the 50's and continues to be - like the Wassily chairs.Little bit like the Barcelona chair too that's been replicated over the years, yet you'd more likely associate with the 50's. Ohh i love chairs. You are the queen of finding the good stuff sista.x

  8. Katherine - such fabulous chairs!

  9. Katherine what an interesting site so much information, love it.
    If it wasnt for you i would never have found out blogging was so much fun. Love bev

  10. That first chair is interesting. I don't know that I would have it in my house but it's quite a conversation piece.

  11. I have been pondering over that very question. I recently restored a dressing table which I called "retro" in my blog. Yet I wasn't sure if it actually was. But I'm sticking with it :)
    You've got some great furniture by the way.
    Megs :)


Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment we love to read them

Related Posts with Thumbnails