Sunday, February 22, 2015

Valerian Rybar: Chic Chaises

The Dining Room, Candib residence,
Miami Beach, as decorated by Valerian Rybar.
Image: Architectural Digest.
As another chapter in the sporadic series on high-personality chairs associated with a person of equal stature, this post of The Devoted Classicist presents chairs from a project by interior designer Valerian Rybar.

A pair of chairs similar to those in the Candib photo
except that the fabric is different.  Pair "A" for reference.
From ebay at a date not recorded.
The Miami Beach residence of Claudette and Murray Candib decorated by Rybar was featured in the April issue of Architectural Digest and appeared on the cover.  Murray Candib has been credited with creating the first self-service department store and introducing the concept of shopping carts to his chain of stores, King's, that grew to over 200 by the time of his death in 2013 at age 97.  The Candibs led an active social and philanthropic lifestyle with their home on the shore of Biscayne Bay given the aura of a villa on the Rivera by Rybar.  The magazine article describes the Dining Room as having a ceiling painted as a skyscape and walls painted with green trompe-l'oeil treillage to give the effect of dining alfresco.  The floor is marble tile and the dining table is a single slab of green marble on ornate gilt wrought iron supports.  No reference is given for the chairs other than a mention that the fabric is from Stroheim & Romann.
A detail of the back support of Pair "A"

A detail of the painting of Pair "A"
Nine side chairs appear in the magazine photo, but it would be realistic to believe there was a set of at least twelve.  They are in the Italian neo-classical style of the last quarter of the eighteenth-century, but likely to be made in the twentieth-century.  Although not impossible, it is difficult to assemble a large number of antique chairs of this sort that would be suitable for use in dining. 

Pair "B" of chairs currently on ebay.
Seller: sourcemyeyefordesign
Adding to the desirablity, it appears that the inside face of each back is painted with a differnt scene of frolicking putti.  Regardless of the date, there is no denying that the chairs are chic. 
Detailing from the "B" pair.
Seller: sourcemyeyefordesign

Detailing from the "B" pair.
Seller: sourcemyeyefordesign.

The backs of the "B" pair show evidence
of previous upholstery.
Chairs, similar if not actually the same, have appeared in venues such as ebay, but not much information has been recorded.  Knowing there are no bounds to the facts at the fingertips of you Devoted Readers, I ask that all who might have more information please do sign in with a comment below (on the regular on-line blog site).

More chairs.  We will reference to these
as the "C" pair.
Image via William Merrill.
ADDENDUM:  Thanks to Devoted Reader Will Merrill for sending this image of a pair of similar chairs, perhaps from the same set, from a recent real estate offering of a David Alder house near Chicago.


  1. Interesting to compare the backs of the chairs in the Miami Beech dining room with those now offered on eBay. The eBay examples with their framework obscured by dubious upholstering read as rudely blank. Here is one time when Valerian Rybar gets my vote of approval. His chairs have real chic and so too does the room's overall design.

    1. I do appreciate a room that has been fully thought out, so I also give props to Rybar for this room. It is also noteworthy to observe how much fabric plays a part in the whole successful composition of the chair. Thanks, Toby.

  2. John,
    Chic indeed! What year was that AD issue? I used to see a model similar to these in the old long gone Olivieri Antiques in Manhattan. They also are like some that PH and Michael Taylor used in San Francisco, in a larger size....
    Did you know that Valerian Rybar decorated the old L'Orangerie restaurant in Los Angeles? He used a classic oval back chaise on that job.
    Do you think the putti are original or later added? Interesting to find such esoteric models on ebay ! Perhaps the owner inherited them and has no idea what they are-
    Love your chair posts!
    As always, your devoted reader

    1. Dean, it appears that the putti decoration is painted by the same hand in all the chairs shown. Each scene is composed differently, but the decoration appears to the same otherwise. My guess is that Rybar had the Candib set decorated and the pairs "A" and "B" are vestiges of that set.

  3. John,
    I always learn such interesting details when I visit. The dining room by Rybar is so stunning and of course I love the chairs; though I find the ceiling, flooring, chandelier and trellis are a delightfully light foil to the serious deep emerald green of the room. Gorgeous!

    The Arts by Karena


Your interest in this blog is appreciated. Other commitments might prevent an immediate response to your comments or questions. That does not lessen the value of the blog reader's input, however. Only comments relating to the current post are eligible for publication; non-relevant comments and promotional references will be deleted. Contact me at regarding other questions. Anonymous comments cannot be accepted.