Knoll Butterfly Chairs
A Knoll butterfly chair is a type of chair that was manufactured by the American-based furniture company Knoll in the mid-20th century
History & Description
Established in 1938 in New York City, the company has produced some of the twentieth century’s most popular and innovative furniture designs and has manufactured tables, desks, office systems and accessories for the home.
The butterfly chair was added to the company’s line in 1947 and, due to the chair’s folding frame and comfortable seating position, is one of the company’s most popular styles of portable, recreational seating.
The butterfly chair was designed in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1938 by a group of artists known as the Austral Group. This artistic conglomerate consisted of Antonio Bonet, Juan Kurchan and Jorge Ferrari. Due to the designers’ surnames, the butterfly chair is also known as a BKF chair.
Guide for collectors
Knoll butterfly chairs are regularly sold through national auction houses although records show that the most valuable examples are typically sold through international auctioneers, such as Christie’s. In addition, original 1940s versions tend to achieve higher prices compared to later editions.
Collectors should be aware that a number of twentieth century furniture designers have reproduced this classic design. As a result, collectors should always try to obtain as much information as possible in order to verify that the piece is a genuine Knoll product.
Notable auction sales
On April 20th 2011 at Christie’s in London, a butterfly chair, circa 1940s, realised a price of £4,000.
On March 4th 2008 at Christie’s in London, three butterfly chairs, realised a price of £3,250.
On October 2nd 2011 at Rago Arts and Auction Center in Lambertville, New Jersey, two butterfly chairs realised a price of $1,500.
On September 12th 2009 at Rago Arts and Auction Center, two butterfly chairs realised a price of $1,300.