Thursday, March 17, 2011
I am really regretting not bidding higher for the Paul MacAlister dining room set. I have a feeling that the winner of both sets, probably still would have outbid me, but I fell in love with those chairs and wanted to build a house around them. Sigh. I hope to see pictures of them in their new home.
From what I can gather, these pieces were quite unusual and most likely one of a kind at their 1:12 scale. Paul R. MacAlister died in 1986 but these items along with many of his trademark "Plan-a-Room" sets were sold at auction last month. These pieces were from his personal collection, so I'm guessing it was from the estate sale of a close relative.
From the ebay listing: The mid century modern living room and dining room sets were entirely hand crafted in wood and hand painted by important mid century interior designer Paul MacAlister. All of the pieces are meticulously crafted and made in the manner of the actual furniture. Note the careful attention to detail in construction and surface finishing of the woods. The chairs have a hand painted abstract hand painted fabric as well as the sectional which also sports tiny taper brass legs.
MacAlister was an accomplished artist, as well as inventor, craftsman, industrial designer, and world famous decorator. These pieces were made to populate miniature rooms that he presented to clients and also showed on TV. These pieces are from his estate which was recently disseminated. All pieces are in near mint condition. These rank far above any mass produced miniature furniture of the period in design, faithfulness, construction, materials, accuracy & craftsmanship. All pieces are entirely handmade and one of a kind.
MacAlister produced one of the first TV shows on home design in Chicago in the mid-1950s. The majority of his work was in half inch scale (1:24), making the above sets quite unique. He developed and mass-produced "Plan-a-Room" kits with scale furniture and room layouts that could be used to plan and organize home spaces for consumers. The kits were used by 1500 schools and colleges as a visual planning device. Below are a few that were auctioned last month. If anyone ever saw Paul MacAlister's TV show, or has more details on his work, I'd love to learn more about him.
(All 1:12 images from seller decoray on ebay, for items here and here. All 1:24 scale room images from Artfact.com)