Modern Chair Exhibition Kicks Off Reopening of Architecture and Design Center at Palm Springs Art Museum

  • September 06, 2021 23:01

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Verner Panton (Danish, 1926-1998), Heart Cone chair, 1958, fabric, foam, and metal, 35 x 38 ½ x 28 ¼ inches. Promised gift of Donna J. and Cargill MacMillan, Jr., L2008-60. Photograph by Sherrill & Associates, Inc.

Palm Springs Art Museum has announced that a new exhibition, The Modern Chair, will focus on the growth of modern chair design through a display of more than 50 works. The exhibition will open on Sept. 9, 2021, which will also mark the reopening of the museum’s Architecture and Design Center, Edwards Harris Pavilion, after over a year-and-a-half closure due to the pandemic. This special exhibition will follow a timeline of the development of the modern chair starting with the famous Thonet “B-9” bent wood armchair (circa 1905), which is widely considered the first modern chair. The Swiss-French designer Le Corbusier frequently used it in his early architecture as there was no other modern furniture readily available at the time.

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The exhibition is curated by Architecture and Design specialist Brad Dunning, who is developing the contents through research into availability of key designs and objects of historical importance, rarity, and condition.

Says Dunning: “The Modern Chair will trace the evolution from the first cantilevered example by Mart Stam, and then onward to designs of current times including examples by Cini Boeri, Charles and Ray Eames, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray, George Nakashima, Charlotte Perriand, Rudolph Schindler, among many others.

R.M. Schindler (American, born Austria, 1887-1953), Cantilevered Armchair, ca. 1926-1940, painted wood, 26 3/4 x 21 1/4 x 18 3/8 inches, 75th Anniversary gift of Bill Stewart, 7-2013. Photograph by Sherrill & Associates, Inc.

"Technological and stylistic advances pushed chair design forward at a breakneck speed in the 20th century like no other time before. The exhibition will also contain important examples of 21st century as well.”

Drawn in part from the rich collection of Palm Springs Art Museum, the exhibition will also include key loans from noted collectors and collections. In total, The Modern Chair will include more than 50 works by designers of international scope.



For more information about Palm Springs Art Museum exhibitions, programs, and events, please visit psmuseum.org or call (760) 322-4800.


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