Chair & foot stool, wood / cane, [designed by George Korody], Artes Studios Pty Ltd, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, c. 1954
possibly designed by George Korody
Original receipt on file from Artes Studios
George Korody was a Hungarian-born architect and university lecturer who in addition to making furniture founded in the late 1940s (with the daughter of the Belgian Consul Elsie Segeart) the most enduring of Australian design stores ¬? Artes Studios. Initially the outlet was formed to retail Korody's own furniture, including the armchair and footstool in the Museum's collection (85/930). Korody didn¬?t mark or label his furniture so a good provenance to the Artes outlet is essential and allows a catalogue of work to be accumulated by which other examples can be identified. In this way the chair and stool in the Powerhouse were bought by the original owners from Artes, according to the still-existing receipt, on 22 January 1954. Korody's furniture has been described as satisfying the growing local demand for 'moderately priced, informal furniture designed along simple modern lines to suit the new post-war interiors' (Watson). Korody liked distinctive and quirky elements in his furniture including a fondness for incorporating black vitrolite glass in tables and trollies. Some of his chair designs appear to have been heavily influenced by the work of Jean Prouve. This chair and stool were made either by Leibowitz or Mitrovitz ¬? two manufacturers in Surry Hills, Sydney used by Artes.
In the early 1950s Artes was joined by Dick van Leer and in 1954 the showroom moved to premises at 539 George Street (where it remained until the 1970s) and Van Leer continued to run the business after Korody died in 1957. From this time Artes imported furniture and decorative arts from Europe and Britain and in the Powerhouse are two bowls by Lucie Rie of London (90/1073 & 90/1074) which had been originally purchased by the donors from Artes Studios in the early 1960s.
In 1979 Artes was bought by Kevin Jarrett who had managed it since the mid 70s and in 1986 Artes merged with Arredorama and is today known as Space Furniture; still under the ownership of Jarrett. As Anne Watson notes, 'Artes Studios consistent advocacy of good design principles played an important role in educating Australian taste and establishing high standards for the local design profession and the furniture industry.' George Korody and other European emigres around the time of WWII such as Paul Kafka, Schulim Krimper and Steven Kalmar played a leading role in the establishment of increasingly sophisitcated and modern interior design in Australia.
Paul Donnelly, Curator design & society
Refs: This statement is based on Anne Watson's article. 'Artes Studios: pioneering good design', Furniture History Society Newsletter, Feb 2001 National Gallery Victoria, 'One hundred modern chairs', No. 82.
Ken Neale ¬? personal communication
Principal Curator - Collections & Access Curatorial Design & Society T 92170185