Ettore Sottsass (Italian (born Austria), Innsbruck 1917–2007 Milan)
Wood and chromed steel
H. 32, W. 21-1/4, D. 20-1/2 in. (81.3 x 54 x 52.1 cm.)
Gift of Joseph A. Helman, 1997
Not on view
The honesty with which Sottsass designed and marketed this work to a luxury clientele could be seen as antithetical to modernism’s democratic ethos predicated on mass production. With the suite of furniture that includes this chair, there was no illusion of reaching ordinary consumers—the pieces are loft-scaled, exquisitely proportioned ensembles made of rare stones and exotic woods. Titles of other items in the series include What’s the Name of Your Swiss Bank Account? and We Went to Crete (That Raining Spring). Sottsass’s sensual minimalism is an aesthetic he shared with Shiro Kuramata, whose heavy but visually spare Glass Chair makes for a stark contrast to Sottsass’s solid block forms and almost immaterially reflective chromed steel legs and articulations.
Joseph A. Helman, New York (by 1996–97; his gift to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Modern Design," March 30–December 3, 2006, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art [The Met Breuer]. "Ettore Sottsass: Design Radical," July 21–October 8, 2017, no catalogue.