Kubbestol chairs sought
A mystery for you and one the Blackduck History Center folks are hoping you can help solve.
The puzzle involves some chairs and it's unfair to refer to them as "some chairs" because they are really very special chairs. Recently found were a few more photos made by the late Howard Newcomb and among them pictures he'd made of at least three chairs carved from sections of large trees. Of Norwegian design, they're called kubbestol.
The chairs were made by Einar Gunheim. His name is carved right into the back of the chair in a very legible script, matching the elaborate scroll work in the rest of the chair, below the Viking ship afloat on the waves and above the eagle spreading its wings on the branch below.
Kubbestol, log chairs, are carved from single sections of a tree. Usually basswood, the chair form is roughed out and then seasoned for two or three years before the actual carving begins. The amount of carving varies from chair to chair. Some are finished with dark stains, some lighter shades and some left plain for traditional rosemaling, Norwegian rose painting decoration.
Because of their round form, the chairs were popular in Norwegian cottages where they would fit in the corneSrs of a room.
Gunheim obviously was a skilled woodcarver. His work had to have been well-known at the time this picture and others like it were made. Another shows ladles and small kitchen utensils displayed near other chairs. The photos were made most likely in the years just before or sometime after World War II.
Gunheim carved them years earlier, living on the place where Marie Juelson lives now. Gunheim's wife, Clara, was a Tollefson from Bagley. There may have been a relationship to the Gilstad's who lived on the lake bearing the Gilstad name. She was an invalid and he had medical problems.
Gunheim had filed a rock and timber homestead on 160 acres in Section 26 of Hines Township.
After they had both died, the chairs were among the items included in their auction sale. Where are the chairs now? The folks at the Blackduck History Center would really like to know and arrange for one or more of them to be loaned to the center for a display.