This fall as we prepared for our Centennial celebration at Hickory Chair we caught up with Deborah Friedman, daughter of the late Albert Sack. We were reflecting on the great talent and visionary that was Albert Sack and how we wished that he had lived to see his latest collaboration with Hickory Chair be introduced at the October 2011 Market. It was not to be as he departed this life on May 29, 2011. Fortunately, we had the honor of selecting a very special American Federal period sofa with him from his archives to introduce as a part of this special celebration. As shown below our modern day interpretation of the original antique shares the crisp lines of the Federal Period. The Albert Sofa and Chair are both clean lined, comfortable and have a timeless quality about their style. Like the original antique, classic furniture with heirloom quality is our goal for all we create in our Hickory, North Carolina workroom.
As we continued to speak with Deborah about her Father and this most special way to honor his memory she shared with us this following letter. We felt you might appreciate the love and respect between this father and daughter. "On a balmy day in May 2010, I videotaped my father, Albert Sack on my back porch. He said, "You gotta have a dream. My father's [Israel Sack] dream was the glory of Americana at its best." "You caught that dream?, I asked. My father replied, "I caught that dream".
With little interest and virtually no knowledge of American antiques, my father left college in the midst of the depression to help his father's ailing business. His father, Israel was already considered a maverick for championing Americana at a time when European furniture was the favored trend. And faced with the daunting responsibility of becoming Israel Sack's principal buyer at a time when people were standing in bread lines, he began to identify with and appreciate the early settlers who returned from battles to lovingly create American masterpieces. As John Hays of Christie's said in The Magazine Antiques, "For Albert, American furniture was more than great art. The virtues of each piece for him were a foil for America: the success of a piece depended on the strength and vigor of its design...and always the singular pride of its being American."
For Albert Sack to succeed as a buyer, he would face obstacles too, but he was certain he had to buy only the most extraordinary objects for Israel Sack even in the worst of times. Shortly after my father joined the firm, Israel Sack showed DuPont a newly acquired masterpiece. DuPont remarked about its high price tag during the Depression. To which Israel countered, "There's always room for special friends". A passion was ignited in my father and he began to see Israel's vision. In 2004, I began a conversation with Jay Reardon, President of Hickory Chair about a collection bearing my father's name. I viewed a potential line as relevant, a solution for families who inherited treasured antiques, but needed exceptional American pieces with character and personality (much like my father's) that could blend seamlessly into modern interiors.
Outwardly we appeared like an unlikely, unconventional couple. I hadn't worked at Israel Sack so my background was in retail and manufacturing. What people didn't know was my entire life was spent looking at products and fashion and finding ways to refine them, to make them more beautiful.
My father and I applied the same shared analytical approach to selecting, and translating design elements to recreate masterpieces for a 21st century customer. What I didn't expect was to fall in love along the way with cabinetmakers, John and Thomas Seymour or to wax poetic about a hand painted table like my father did. Apparently, I had caught the dream, too. Unexpectedly my own path's purpose converged with his and redefined my aesthetic point of view.
As Hickory Chair introduces the "Albert sofa and chair", I am reminded of the many conversations my father and I shared traveling to Hickory and High Point. He viewed his partnership with Hickory Chair as an opportunity to show a new generation the way he looked at furniture. He marveled at the way Hickory Chair met his standards for excellence by refining the tiniest detail to exquisite execution. He knew the multi-generational artisans at Hickory Chair would create "gems" for a generation that would value beauty as he had in his lifetime. Hickory Chair honors Albert Sack's legacy by sharing his vision of the bold, American spirit. Thank you for catching the dream." - Deborah Friedman
Shown below is the Albert Sofa as a silhouette and as a room scene from the Albert Sack Collection from Hickory Chair. Modern and Traditional...Timeless just like Albert Sack. For more about Albert Sack's life achievements click on the following posts: