Art/ Collection/ Art Object

"Model No. 41" Lounge Chair

Designer:
Alvar Aalto (Finnish, Kuortane 1898–1976 Helsinki)
Manufacturer:
Oy. Huonekalu-Ja Rakennustyötehdas AB
Date:
1931–32
Medium:
Laminated Birch
Dimensions:
26 1/2 × 24 × 36 in. (67.3 × 61 × 91.4 cm)
Classification:
Furniture-Wood
Credit Line:
Purchase, Friends of Twentieth Century Decorative Arts Gifts, by exchange, 2000
Accession Number:
2000.375
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Not on view
This chair, designed for Aalto's Paimio Sanatorium of 1929-32, demonstrates the radical possibilities of bentwood in its graceful, scrolling form, devoid of right angles and sharp geometry. In designing this chair for use in the sanatorium, Aalto sought to create a form that would be both mentally and physically soothing to patients, and aid in their recuperation. Like his European peers, the Finnish Aalto was deeply interested in exploring new manufacturing techniques and uses of materials in his pursuit of modern furniture design, favoring light, dematerialized forms with dramatic cantilevers. However, whereas many of his colleagues explored the formal potential of tubular steel, Aalto preferred the warmth and tactility of wood. In this design, he experimented with plywood and molded birch from his native Finland. The seat and back are fashioned from the same piece of molded wood, which terminates in volutes at either end, functioning as both structure and decorative element.
Marking: Stamped (on underside of seat, faded): MADE IN FINLAND; (on underside of proper right armrest): AALTO DESIGN/ MADE IN FINLAND; Retailer's ivorine label (attached at underside of seat): FINMAR LTD./ MADE IN FINLAND
(sale, Christie's South Kensington, London, June 14, 2000, no. 8, as "A Laminated Birch 'Model No. 41' Lounge Chair," sold to MMA)

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Curator's Eye: J. Stewart Johnson, 1990–2004," March 1–November 6, 2005, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Design," March 30–December 3, 2006, no catalogue.

J. Stewart Johnson. Alvar Aalto: Furniture and Glass. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1984, pp. 4–6, 11, 22, ill. (Museum of Modern Art, New York collection).

Christopher Wilk in Bent Wood and Metal Furniture: 1850–1946. Ed. Derek Ostergard. Exh. cat., American Federation of Arts circulating exhibition. New York, 1987, pp. 150, 152, 154, fig. 5-51.

Derek Ostergard in Bent Wood and Metal Furniture: 1850–1946. Ed. Derek Ostergard. Exh. cat., American Federation of Arts circulating exhibition. New York, 1987, pp. 309–10, 312–13, 317, 320, 322, 325, no. 99, ill. (Museum of Applied Arts, Helsinki collection).

Paul David Pearson. Alvar Aalto and the International Style. (1st ed., 1978). London, 1989, pp. 142, 144, 184, fig. 229.

Göran Schildt. Alvar Aalto: The Complete Catalogue of Architecture, Design and Art. London, 1994, pp. 257, 260, no. X.I.9, fig. 499.

Juhani Pallasmaa in Alvar Aalto: Between Humanism and Materialism. Ed. Peter Reed. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1998, pp. 28–29, colorpl. 63 (Museum of Modern Art, New York collection), pls. 61 (installation photo, Paimio Tuberculosis Sanitarium lounge), 65 (sketch).

Marc Treib in Alvar Aalto: Between Humanism and Materialism. Ed. Peter Reed. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1998, p. 48.

Kenneth Frampton in Alvar Aalto: Between Humanism and Materialism. Ed. Peter Reed. Exh. cat., Museum of Modern Art. New York, 1998, pp. 122, 124.

Kaarina Mikonranta. "Alvar Aalto—Master of Variation." Alvar Aalto: Designer. [Helsinki], 2002, pp. 76, 79.

Kaarina Mikonranta. "Catalogue of Alvar Aalto's Major Furniture Designs." Alvar Aalto: Designer. [Helsinki], 2002, p. 165, ill. (color).



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