Most underwhelming attribution to Don S. Shoemaker – part 7

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I received pictures from one of my readers on this Don S. Shoemaker attributed round table in an auction:

  • I had to take the time to pay a visit to this auction house to verify (my apologies to my reader) that this primitive and ugly round table was listed as a Don S. Shoemaker original. I was flabbergasted! I am trying really hard to find just one possible argument on how this rustic round table with such an uncouth finish could have been attributed to Don S. Shoemaker and accepted as such. I was absolutely horrified when I took a look at the table´s  underside. The table top consists on many cueramo planks which underneath are joined by screwed pine planks, this is the evidence that the forger or the owner and the specialist or curator of the auction house (if any), do not know something about Don S. Shoemaker designs. We all know that he excelled in developing systems for link and joint and that he tried to avoid no matter what the use of screws and nails in his work.

I just read the catalog that I bought while I was leaving the auction house and I found these pearls of humor that I want to share with you:

  • I will quote the introduction for the “Don Shoemaker pieces” in the catalog for this auction: “He did not use nuts, screws or nails, each one of his pieces were produced on the base of joints, links, etc.” So they did not read what they wrote? Or maybe they do not know that those shiny things on the underside of the table top are called screws…
  • Description of the Lot: Round dining table, ca. 1970. Are they talking about the year in which the forger was born?
  • Would you believe them that the table is made in cocobolo wood?

Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

Most underwhelming attribution to Don S. Shoemaker – part 6

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Is this a joke or what? I received this picture on a deckchair listed for auction which you can tell immediately it is not part of the Don S. Shoemaker catalog.

  • An attributed Don S. Shoemaker “deckchair”. This particular chair is made in a tropical wood called “katalox”, sometimes also known as “Mexican Ebony”, a wood very estimated in the Yucatan Peninsula by the producers of outdoor furniture and flooring of that area. Very unfamiliar to a Don S. Shoemaker piece of furniture. Sometimes I do ask myself, how is it possible that these kind of furniture pieces make it to a serious auction house and they accept to list them as originals.
  • Is it the magical thought of believe that it could be a “Don S. Shoemaker”?
  • Are they too lazy to research?
  • They have a blind trust on the seller?
  • They do not have specialists?
  • Or they do not care?
  • I wonder what happens when you try to sell a brand new Chinese 2009 “WASSILY CHAIR” for an authentic Marcel Breuer WASSILY CLUB CHAIR “B3” Standard Möbel or Thonet Möbel 1928?

But I still have not found the answer….

Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

New Don S. Shoemaker Copies – the diamond desk

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During the decade of the 1970´s Don experimented with linear designs and created the “Diamond Line” or sometimes referred as to “Z Line”, built in laminated tropical woods. There is a very well-known example, the diamond desk of Jacobo Zabludovsky, one of Mexico´s most famous newscasters. Street tales say that a total of 25 diamond desks were produced, but the unlabeled desks currently on sale might be easily 10 times that number…

To compare, let’s review two samples of the original Don S. Shoemaker diamond desk versions available during the 1970’s and 1980’s, showing some completely normal wear on the surface and on the desk legs, great looking laminated tropical woods, both carrying the Don S. Shoemaker original label:

Below are samples of brand new diamond desk copies as I have already seen several of them around, based on both original versions shown above. As you are able to judge by yourself, the laminated woods look brand new, evident is the total absence of patina, no scratches, no dents. The wood has still the greenish color of fresh cut wood, the surface shows no wear at all, and no Don S. Shoemaker label is present.

Again, I will withhold information about the original design to prevent better copies!

Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

Anatomy of a fake Don S. Shoemaker

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To be able to better understand the differences between an original Don S. Shoemaker piece of furniture and a fake, I have taken some close up pictures on the most relevant discrepancies. Please visit each picture for a detailed explanation on the discrepancy. Beware of the loose elephant herd recently produced!

Remember the MANTRA: if the piece seems odd,  if the leather is new, the wood looks new and smells like new, and carries no label or stamp or is taped, then it is a forgery or a brand new copy !

Close up original swinging mechanism - Elephant Lounge Chair

Fake elephant chair with 3-step "mechanism"

Original Elephant Lounge Chair - curved back-rail

Fake elephant chair - straight back-rail

Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

Most underwhelming attribution Don S. Shoemaker – part 5

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Today I will address another Don S. Shoemaker attribution seen for auction and also in some galleries:

  • This product of a lesser mind living room set imitates the legendary “Elephant Lounge Set”, created by Don S. Shoemaker in a limited edition of 5 back in the 1960´s. The original set (as I had already described in the Special Design Lines category) comprises 2 lounge chairs and an outstanding coffee table. However, this brand  new “want to be” elephant model, forgery, includes a settee, a love-seat, a lounge chair and a coffee table.

The differences to the original Don S. Shoemaker “Elephant Lounge Set” are very obvious:

  • No elephant eyes are present (as the typical Don S. Shoemaker swinging mechanism is absent)
  • The “box seat style” with leather cushion similar to the Sling Swinger Chair was adapted, instead of the nailed leather seat with the typical decoration for each nail, the so called “leather flowers “
  • A funny 3 position mechanism was adapted, the coordination of 2 or 3 of your guests is required to go one step back or forth
  • Blue prints and a manual have to be delivered to your guests for this dangerous maneuvering
  • No curved back-rail (signature of the house) present. After 10 minutes with your back in contact with the straight rail you want to cry!
  • The table´s legs stand on 90°
  • And most important: the love-seat and the settee were never part of Don S. Shoemaker´s designs

Of course I will withhold information about some other details in order to prevent production of better imitations!

Copyright © 2010 – 2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

Are counterfeiters running out of tropical wood?

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Brand new Don S. Shoemaker copies have been around for some time. Unfortunately they are being sold as “genuine” Don S. Shoemaker furniture pieces. Here we have a selection of them and the differences between the Don S. Shoemaker original pieces vs. the newly produced copies that have come my way so far. Of course, these copies are fine pieces as long as the same tropical woods are being used, but some copies are made in more commercial woods and the finish does not compare to a Don S. Shoemaker original. In all fairness, they should all be sold according to what they are: copies, not pretending to be Don S. Shoemaker originals.

Sadly, there are many very sloppy copies, however most reproductions made under the “Arrendadora Shoemaker” label are perfect.

Compare the original piece with the copy so you can detect the differences:

The ottoman that goes with the Sling chair is well known by most Don S. Shoemaker fans. The original Don S. Shoemaker Sling  footstool is traditionally produced in tropical woods; cueramo and cocobolo were Don´s favorites. Below is an original Sling footstool in cocobolo versus two recent copies: one of them  in an odd “combo woods” design (!) and the other brand new footstool was made in mahogany. No mahogany Sling chairs were ever produced during the good old SEÑAL, S.A. production days.

Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

Most underwhelming attribution to Don S. Shoemaker – part 4

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This attributed piece was found in a gallery:

  • Daybed attributed to Don Shoemaker. Another Art Deco inspiration. This brand new furniture piece is made in rosewood (“cueramo”) and black leather. A very attractive piece, and again, credit should be awarded to the lady who designed it a year ago.

So far, these are forgeries and attribution examples that I have seen lately. New discoveries will be shared here as they show up. Samples on Don S. Shoemaker brand new copies & reproductions deserve to be posted in a separate section.

You can also visit my Blog on Don S. Shoemaker Furniture at:
for continuous updates and discussions.

Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

Most underwhelming attribution to Don S. Shoemaker – part 3

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These attributed pieces were found in a gallery:

  • The X-Chair, attributed to Don Shoemaker. This model never existed during the SEÑAL, S.A. production days. As long as I know who designed these chairs… He used as a model the original Don S. Shoemaker design of a small folding stool in chip-carved Brazilian walnut wood from the 1960’s. (see picture below)

  • This “Daybed” attributed to Don Shoemaker. This piece of furniture of Art Deco inspiration, I think even Don would have been surprised to see what “he produced” as he never designed any kind of daybeds!  Although it is a nice looking thing and credit should be awarded to the lady who designed it a year ago!

Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

Most underwhelming attribution to Don S. Shoemaker – part 2

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Trying to find answers to my question about the lack of better research, I remembered that in 2007  Banamex published a book in Mexico titled “Vida y Diseño en México Siglo XX” (Life & Design in Mexico XX Century), some pages were dedicated to Don S. Shoemaker´s furniture designs. Pitiful I found it totally misleading. Unfortunately the research work done for this chapter was extremely poor: Don´s furniture pieces depicted are dated to have been produced in his childhood during the 30´s and 40’s! Don did not establish himself in Mexico until 1947, so, how could he have produced furniture pieces in tropical woods before this date? On top of that, in 2009 the exhibition “125 years of Design in Mexico” took place at the Palacio de Cultura Banamex in Mexico City, some Don S. Shoemaker furniture pieces were shown including the ones published in the book, and again, the curator dated the pieces to be from the 1930´s and 1940´s. I contacted the curator at that time and she did not correct the dates, she knew better. I wonder.

  • This supposedly Don Shoemaker desk was offered on Ebay Mexico (Mercado Libre) for an equivalent of around $ 3,500 USD. This recently produced laminated desk shows wood types that are currently available in the market. Don´s desk designs (which I will be posting separately) were produced in tropical woods (rosewood, rosewood variants as well as cocobolo). I had the opportunity to see two of these on a sidewalk of a flea market in Mexico City.


Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved

Most underwhelming attribution to Don S. Shoemaker – part 1

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I have seen a wide range of fakes or attributed furniture pieces on sale on the web, magazines, flea markets and even on renowned galleries.

I have questioned myself many times: what motivates curators, gallery owners, writers, as well as the public to rely in good faith on certain traders and see betrayed their trust, if by following some very simple rules (see mantra below), it would be the most reliable filter to avoid being cheated. In a prestigious magazine I have seen published on prime time a desk that Shoemaker never designed; exhibited pieces in fairs that are not Shoemaker´s, and in galleries happens exactly the same. Does this mean, that any furniture piece that was produced in rosewood or cocobolo is attributable to Don S. Shoemaker? I invite curators, gallery owners, auction houses, writers and the general public to make a deeper research on the pieces they are being offered, as we Shoemaker collectors do around the world! I keep close contact with collectors in Germany, UK, France, the US and even some in the Orient, and we all coincide that the best defense not to be deceived is to bear in mind like a MANTRA: if the piece seems odd,  if the leather is brand new, the wood looks new and smells like new, and carries no label or stamp or is taped, then it is a forgery or a brand new copy !

This is an invitation to fight for the purity of Don S. Shoemakers lifetime work that I am sure every owner of a chair, stool or table of the real SEÑAL, S.A. production will share with me as long as when you own, care and cherish you solid tropical wood piece you become a “Shoemakeristi” and we do not want the corruption of his distinctive designs and name.

When in doubt, you can also visit my Blog about Don S. Shoemaker Furniture at:
for continuous updates and discussions.

Here I will show the most underwhelming attribution examples I have come across so far on Don S. Shoemaker furniture pieces:

  • This  “apple” chair – attributed to  Don S. Shoemaker – with forged Don S. Shoemaker label taped to the wood. Produced in very light ordinary pine wood, oil painted, the theme is an apple.  The painting is so precious to the crook, that he wrapped it in plastic to preserve his brand new piece of art. I have to apologize for the bad quality of these pictures, as they were taken on a very narrow sidewalk of a flea market.

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