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This 65-inch-wide French Art Deco leather sofa from the 1930s goes well with two leather chairs, pictured below.  Modernism Gallery recovered it in the same glove leather and retied the springs.  It was priced at $7,900 U.S.


Ask The Dealer: Lessons In Leather

How To Buy Reupholstered Art Deco

A reader asks:

What should we look for when buying Art Deco leather seating that’s been recovered?  How can we spot a quality restoration that’s authentic to the period?

By Ric Emmett

For Art Deco News.Com

The most important thing to look for when buying any Art Deco furniture or antique is a reputable dealer.  Use the same criteria that you would with any other purchase: Ask lots of questions.

Is the dealer honest and reputable? Has the dealer been in business for a while?  Is this the type of merchandise that this dealer normally handles?  Don’t be afraid to ask.

Next, look at the merchandise with a critical eye.  Feel the leather.  There are many types of leather. Not all are suitable to cover a chair or sofa.  Ask the dealer whether the hides were painted or vat dyed.  A painted leather will wear poorly and when scratched will show a different color underneath.  Always buy vat dyed leather.

Check to see if the leather is supple.  Leather that is brittle will not last long in your home.  Examine the lines and welting.  Are they straight and clean?  Look for poor stitching and puckering where the leather pieces join.

Make sure the leather is genuine.  Leather is an organic material and vinyl is man made.  Look for minute variations in the texture, which would indicate real leather.

Avoid leather that has bad spots, holes, patches or stains.  Look for springs in the seating, in the backs, and even in the arms in quality pieces.

Makers of reproduction furniture and low-end leather upholstery often don’t go to the expense of using springs.

A pair of French Art Deco chairs of good quality, recovered in fine leather, should run from $7,500 to $15,000 U.S.

If there is a designer name attached to the set, prices can range from $25,000 U.S. into the six-figure range.   Period French Art Deco leather sofas are rarely seen alone.  They are usually found with two matching club chairs.

A recovered set can range from $25,000 U.S. to very, very expensive for a designer set.

Most American Art Deco sets were done in mohair or vinyl.  Those that were covered in leather or have been recovered in leather are usually designer sets.  They range in price from $15,000 to $35,000 U.S.

Ric Emmett has been a dealer since 1979. He operates Modernism Gallery, 800 Douglas Rd., Suite 101, Coral Gables, FL 33134. 
His website is www.modernism.com. E-mail him at artdeco@modernism.com. Phone: 305-442-8743. Fax: 305-443-3074.


Pair of French Art Deco leather club chairs, below, from the 1930s feature spring seats, backs and arms.  Modernism Gallery readied them for 70 more years of service by recovering them in glove leather and retying the springs.

The pair was tagged at $7,900 U.S.




You Too Can Make Headlines!

Attention readers: Got an Art Deco-related question and need expert advice? E-mail your question to editor@artdeconews.com and put Ask The Dealer in the subject line. We'll notify you by e-mail if your question will be answered in this column.



Attention dealers: Share your expertise with our readers and receive free exposure for your business, inventory, and services.  Send your proposed topic to editor@artdeconews.com and put Ask The Dealer in the subject line. Please include your name, the name and location of your business, and weekday contact information. 

















Copyright 2005 by Badermedia of Florida/Art Deco News.Com. All rights reserved. Content may not be reproduced in any form without prior written consent of the publisher.

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