Robert Venturi (American, born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1925)
Molded plywood with laminated finish
H.38-1/2, W.26-1/2, D.23-1/2 in. (97.6 x 67.3 x 59.7 cm) Seat H. 17-1/2 in. (44.5 cm)
Gift of Knoll International Inc., 1985
Not on view
From the late 1970s through the '80s, many architects and designers, reacting against the dictates of modernism, looked to Neoclassical forms and materials for inspiration. Visual references derived from art and architecture superseded functionalism. Overt historical references and decoration transformed architecture, furniture, tabletop accessories, and jewelry into objects of fantasy. Well-known architects Robert Venturi, Michael Graves, and others accepted commissions to design products for such diverse international companies as Knoll, Alessi, and Formica.
Over a period of more than five years, beginning in the late 1970s, Robert Venturi designed his first furniture line. Knoll International initially asked for three seating types, to which Venturi added six more chairs, three tables, and a sofa. The collection included a variety of major historical furniture styles-Chippendale, Queen Anne, Empire, Hepplewhite, Sheraton, Biedermeier, Gothic Revival, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco.
Marking: Marks: Tag - "Grandmother" Pattern c./Knoll International, Inc./All rights reserved
the manufacturer, Knoll International Inc., New York (1984–85; their gift to MMA)
New York. Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture. "Women Designers in the U.S.A., 1900–2000: Diversity and Difference," November 15, 2000–February 25, 2001, no. 148 (as "'Queen Anne'" Side Chair with 'Grandmother' Decoration," 1979–84, by Robert Venturi with Denise Scott Brown).
Paul Goldberger. "Venturi's Willfully Eccentric Furniture." New York Times (May 3, 1984), p. C12, ill.
Joseph Giovannini. "By Venturi: Something Borrowed, Something New." New York Times (June 7, 1984), p. C10, ill.
R. Craig Miller inThe Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1984–1985. New York, 1985, p. 61, ill.
Lenore Newman and Jan L. Spak inDesigned for Delight: Alternative Aspects of Twentieth-Century Decorative Arts. Exh. cat., Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts. Paris and New York, 1997, pp. 180, 200, no. 126, ill. (color) (Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts collection).
Pat Kirkham and Lynne Walker inWomen Designers in the USA, 1900–2000: Diversity and Difference. Ed. Pat Kirkham. Exh. cat., Bard Graduate Center for Studies in the Decorative Arts, Design, and Culture, New York. New Haven, 2000, pp. 69, 395, no. 148, fig. I-38 (color) and ill. p. 395 (color).