A discarded prototype from George´s workshop

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George spent a lot of time experimenting with different concepts to further enhance his father´s furniture lines and produce new designs. He was an imaginative designer by his own right and he developed several prototypes, some of them would make it to production, others were discarded.

This was back in the 1990’s and my husband and I spent many hours together with George discussing the amazingly rapid technology changes that we were facing and how these could influence furniture design trends. George had been enthusiastic for some time about the idea to design a VHS storage case. However, when his raw model was almost finished he radically changed his mind after he realized: “VHS technology is not going to last forever….the key of success to my house signature is and will continue to be based on timeless designs“. So, he quickly discarded this sample and stored it away. A few weeks later when we met again he described to us with a great sense of humor the outcome of the “VHS affair”.

Surprisingly this particular discarded prototype has recently been seen in a gallery pretending to be a Don S. Shoemaker “bookcase” from the 1960’s. The pictures below clearly show that the shelves are missing and there are some rather strange dents to accommodate the “books”…

The tropical woods surface of this furniture piece is not even finished…

The upper half of a Don S. Shoemaker label is taped to the back of the “bookcase”…

Copyright © 2010 – 2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved.


Another decade goes by…

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The 1940’s:

  • Don´s adventure in Mexico started in 1947 in San Miguel Allende.

The 1950’s:

  • In 1951 Don and Barbara settled in Santa Maria de Guido, Morelia.
  • By 1955 the Shoemakers fled to the U.S. overnight. Their business became a cooperative and soon went broke.

The 1960’s:

  • The Shoemakers are back in Santa Maria de Guido, Michoacan.
  • Production started for several SEÑAL, S.A. furniture lines.
  • Don keeps developing new furniture designs.

The 1970’s:

  • They had to face devaluation and inflation.
  • The Puerto Vallarta store was opened and survived only a few months.
  • The “Diamond” desk becomes a “must have”.

The 1980´s:

  • Don searched for new markets and opened showrooms in several cities in the U.S. and exported to different countries in the world.
  • Don had to face constant devaluation and inflation.
  • Consolidation of the “Sling” and “Descanso” lines, the “Executive” and “Diamond” lines, the “Parsons” and “Perlman” lines, “Deco” line, etc.
  • Unfortunately Don passes away at the end of the decade.

The 1990´s:

  • Don´s heir, George, takes over. The company SEÑAL, S.A. is dissolved. George formed a new company with the name ARRENDADORA SHOEMAKER.
  • In 1995 George has to stand another blow, courtesy of the Mexican economy.
  • George develops new designs and improves some of Don´s furniture lines.

The 2000’s:

  • George´s health is declining extremely fast. Production activity goes to almost zero.
  • George passes away and the company has to close.
  • The most underwhelming attributions to Don S. Shoemaker started flooding the market.
  • The most outrageous examples are the ones shown at Miami Design 2009.
  • In 2010 the website about Don S. Shoemaker was created to provide information to the public and to create awareness of the huge amount of attributions, copies, forgeries and fakes offered in flea markets, auction houses, galleries and the web, some of them featured in specialized magazines.
  • At the end of the day, of the year, the decade and the century, the work of the Shoemaker´s will endure and will be enjoyed and remembered by the owners of these remarkable furniture pieces.

P.S.:  The  2010´s:

  • Soon the book about Don S. Shoemaker, his work  and his furniture designs will be published to provide required information to the “Shoemakeristis” and keep fighting piracy, also to prevent further most underwhelming attributions.
  • Most important: to honor a person who arrived to an impoverished neighborhood and thanks to his vision, drive and endurance brought well being to the village of Santa Maria de Guido in Morelia, Michoacan.

Copyright © 2010 – 2017 Karin Goyer. All rights Reserved


The George R. Shoemaker heritage – Small cabinets

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During one of George´s visits to our home he saw our brand new (at that time) Bang & Olufsen BeoSound 9000 (nowadays in the MoMa) and he decided to play some CD´s of his selection. My God! He opened the cabinet in which we stored the CD´s and it was a complete mess. Of course, they were in a perfect order according to my husband but anyway instantly he decided that he was going to design something to keep them in the proper order and “in style”.

So now I am delighted to show the result of this serendipity moment. George designed for us two small CD cabinets in solid cocobolo wood with two doors and he kept for himself another model with only one door.

Copyright © 2010 – 2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved


Most underwhelming attribution to Don S. Shoemaker – part 9

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When attributing a piece of furniture to Don S. Shoemaker becomes grotesque:

-Who is to blame?

  • The consignor (particular? dealer?) that attributes a piece to a well-known designer, obviously with the hope of a good (profit? scamp?)
  • Furniture designs belonging to someone else, whose fine work in cueramo, cocobolo, granadilla, etc. are now being unscrupulously used with the purpose to deceive and shown in an auction catalog under Don S. Shoemaker´s name.
  • The auction house that clearly showed their ignorance or maybe it was greed? Or maybe they were acting in good faith? Finally it looks like a pretty grotesque scamp.
  • I saved this attributed dining room set including a rectangular table with 8 matching chairs (found at an auction) for a moment in which I think I am starting to solve the riddle involving attributions…
  • This set was produced using quality tropical woods, however, this model never existed during the SEÑAL, S.A. production days.
  • This dining room model was called “Silhouette”, and it belonged to George R. Shoemaker design lines! The original ARRENDADORA SHOEMAKER studio label was removed to deceive.

Silhouette Sideboard designed by George R. Shoemaker, falsely attributed to Don S. Shoemaker

The Silhoutte Dining Set by George R. Shoemaker

Always remember: if a furniture piece is produced in rosewood, granadilla or cocobolo, make yourself a favor: do not think it is attributable to Don S. Shoemaker only for this reason!!!

Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved


The George R. Shoemaker heritage – identifying his designs

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George did not mastermind a large quantity of furniture pieces during the time he directed the destiny of  ARRENDADORA SHOEMAKER, but his designs were very appreciated by the Shoemakeristis. Many George R. Shoemaker furniture pieces are copied and sold as “Don S. Shoemaker originals” not recognizing George´s talent and contribution to his Dad´s work. He was a great designer by his own right. He had a restless mind and he also experimented in Art NouveauArt Deco and even English XIX Century styles.

  • Back in the early 1990´s George R. Shoemaker complemented the Sling living lounge set originally created by his father with a Sling two-seater. The Sling line now included a two-seater variant produced in rosewood. The armrests were of exactly the same size as the ones on the Sling Swinger chair, the black leather upholstery came with individual leather padded backseats (the picture below shows a Sling settee produced by ARRENDADORA SHOEMAKER in the 1990’s).

Don S. Shoemaker Sling three-seater

  • Below a George R. Shoemaker Sling round table. His characteristic improvement to the edge of the round table makes his furniture production recognizable at first glance. George made these edges of solid wood to prevent the parquetry from chipping.

Copyright © 2010-2017 Karin Goyer. All Rights Reserved


The George R. Shoemaker heritage – ARRENDADORA SHOEMAKER

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Special credit should be awarded to Don´s beloved son George, who, after Don passed away in 1990, took over and directed with great dedication the company under the label “ARRENDADORA SHOEMAKER“, producing many of his own designs and furniture pieces under this brand name until his early death in 2005.

Many of George´s designs were unique and of great creativity. I would like to stress on the fact that George deserves his own chapter in this website. Unfairly, most George R. Shoemaker designs are being copied and sold as “Don S. Shoemaker originals”.

I will share with you some of George´s furniture designs that I have documented, which date back to his time in the 1990´s:

This round table was part of an impressive dining room set designed by George R. Shoemaker in rosewood (cueramo). One of George´s improvements to point at  is the finish of his round table edge: he made these of solid wood to prevent the parquetry from chipping.  It is very common to get a dent on the edge of the round table parquetry design of his Dad. The parquetry on George´s table top surface was very different compared to the shiny finish on the table top from his father.

This fabulous dining room set was combined with 8 chairs made in solid cueramo with black leather upholstery, this chair style was one of the favorite Don S. Shoemaker designs for the more conservative dining  room sets and was reproduced by George in a way we can only call it perfect!

The enlarged cabinet shown below was part of that same dining room set, and is also a further development of George on his Dad´s original design, a very dramatic piece of furniture. The complete set looks absolutely incredible!

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