German emigre Kem Weber (1889 – 1963) designed original and colorful furniture and interiors devoid of overt historical references and evocative of modern times. Weber came to the US in 1914 to supervise construction of the German Pavilion at the Panema-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. He settled in Southern California, where he developed a thriving design practice.
Produced as part of a nine-piece dining-room suite manufactured by Grand Rapids Chair Company, this Serving Table and Arm Chair (circa 1928–29) feature finishes of painted wood, walnut, and silver leaf with original leather upholstery.
The zigzag pattern in both the walnut veneer of the table and the striking green surfaces of both table and chair attest to Weber’s knowledge of French Art Moderne, while their smooth contours anticipate the sleek look of American streamlined design that would become popular in the 1930s.
Photographed in the Art Institute Chicago
Update June 21st, 2021:
Lo and behold, I was visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past weekend and thought I recognized the distinctive design of this Kem Weber sideboard and chair from an earlier post — and I was correct! To indulge the completist in me, I’ve added photos of those pieces to this post (sideboard shown with Stuart Davis’s Men and Machine.)