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Object Timeline

-0001

1920

  • Work on this object began.

1930

  • Work on this object ended.

1985

  • We acquired this object.

2001

2015

2017

2019

  • You found it!

Side Chair (USA), ca. 1925

This is a Side chair. It is dated ca. 1925 and we acquired it in 1985. Its medium is painted wood. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

Joseph Urban, in his native Austria, was a leader of the turn-of-the-century Vienna Secession movement, which sought a new, modern design removed from tradition. Out of that movement came the more concrete Wiener Werkstätte, which, for the first two decades of the twentieth century, promoted geometric, abstract designs that lacked any unnecessary ornamentation, and in which Urban was also involved. He left Europe in 1912 to work for the Boston Opera Company, and despite his theatrical tendencies in stage sets, much of his work in the US remained reminiscent of his fin-de-siecle Vienna roots. This chair (c. 1930) exemplifies those early ideals and its square cut-outs are reminiscent of other Weiner Werkstätte designs in silver. Painted black, it has hints of color on the inside edges of the backsplat, and, with its geometric forms, is also reminiscent of American Art Deco, which developed in the late 1920s, thanks, in part, to an influx of European emigre-designers after World War I. In an otherwise white space—there were twenty-four shades of white, he used to argue—this chair and other spare furnishings like it formed the decor of the eclectic yet always modern designer’s office reception room.

This object was donated by Carola Teegen Walton. It is credited Gift of Dorothy S. Teegen and Carola Teegen Walton in memory of Otto J. Teegen.

  • Object ID #18633977
  • pen and black ink, brush and watercolor, white gouache, gold paint, graphite....
  • 1990-126-1

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Its dimensions are

H x W x D: 86 x 52.5 x 45.3 cm (33 7/8 x 20 11/16 x 17 13/16 in. )

Cite this object as

Side Chair (USA), ca. 1925; painted wood; H x W x D: 86 x 52.5 x 45.3 cm (33 7/8 x 20 11/16 x 17 13/16 in. ); Gift of Dorothy S. Teegen and Carola Teegen Walton in memory of Otto J. Teegen; 1985-13-1

This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s.

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://www-6.collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18804491/ |title=Side Chair (USA), ca. 1925 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=14 October 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>