Art/ Collection/ Art Object

#663 "Empire" Chair

Artist:
Robert Venturi (American, born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1925)
Manufacturer:
Knoll
Date:
1984
Medium:
Molded plywood with laminated finish
Dimensions:
H.32-1/2, W.24-1/4, D.22-3/8 in. (82.6 x 61.6 x 56.8 cm.)
Classification:
Furniture
Credit Line:
Gift of Knoll International, 1985
Accession Number:
1985.113.4
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 Visual references derived from art and architecture superseded functionalism. Overt historical references and decoration transformed architecture, furniture, tabletop accessories, and jewelry into objects of fantasy.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: "c. Knoll International, Inc. 1984/All rights reserved"
the manufacturer, Knoll International Inc., New York (1984–85; their gift to MMA)

Paul Goldberger. "Venturi's Willfully Eccentric Furniture." New York Times (May 3, 1984), p. C12.

Joseph Giovannini. "By Venturi: Something Borrowed, Something New." New York Times (June 7, 1984), p. C10, ill.

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