In 1925, the Paris Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes was a defining moment in the history of furniture design and art and the birthplace of what would later become the Art Deco style and period which extended through the 1940s. The pure lines, geometric forms and right angles were an inspiration for sleek, modern, furniture design and came to inspire generations of designers.
One particularly popular chair was born around 1929; simply called the “fauteuil confortable” or “comfortable armchair”, it was a French armchair introduced to the market by way of the French and English gentlemen’s clubs that were trendy at the time. While at his club, a gentleman would sink into a finely upholstered, plush, leather chair and relax with his favorite drink and perhaps a fine Cuban cigar. Over time, people started referring to this well loved chair simply as a “Club Chair”.
The Club Chair was an essential part of 20th century luxury furniture, and its longevity, clean but sinuous lines, and refinement are still very much admired today. Its round form was legendary but evolved with time into new forms such as the “moustache” form with lip like curves across the back or the “chapeau de gendarme” with its elegant arch-like curve.
Those who purchase these chairs in France look for original leather, distressing (but not too distressed), and quality of the inner springs. These can all be re-constructed when they arrive in the US but having the original leather intact is critical. Most reputable importers will re-inforce the springs, re-stuff the cushions with horse hair, re-inforce the inner frame, and restore the leather with cleaner and conditioner specifically made for this purpose.
I found Old Plank Antiques in Illinois, Williams Antiks in California, and Club Harivel in Florida to have large selections of these chairs but you have to act fast if you see one of particularly good quality.