Chaise Longue, 1950-52
Stone was an important proponent of the International Style in the United States, reconciling its crisp geometry and functionalism with American popular culture. That said, his Miesian-inspired aesthetic underwent a transformation in the 1940s, following a cross-country tour that included visits to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin and Yellowstone National Park, sparking an interest in vernacular materials. In the early 1950s, Stone designed a number of pieces for Fulbright Industries, a firm formed by the merger of Phipps Lumber Company and Springfield Wagon and run by Stone’s childhood friend Senator J. William Fulbright. Fulbright sought to create a line of modern furnishings in order to salvage its faltering woodworking business following a post-War decline in demand. Stone agreed to design the line, the results of which perfectly marry his modern aesthetic with regional materials. Taking advantage of the firm’s existing equipment and skilled craftsmen, Stone repurposed machinery and techniques formerly employed to produce agricultural tool parts, creating furniture that blends functional modernism with a rustic, local flavor. This chaise longue boasts an elegant curvilinear silhouette supported by tapered legs over which woven oak strips (crafted by notable Ozark Mountain basket weaver George Gibson) stretch to create a comfortable piece of rustic modernism. Despite the notoriety of both Stone and Fulbright and positive attention from the media, the time-consuming handcraftsmanship and costly updates to the firm’s facilities led to the line’s demise before achieving commercial success. Nonetheless, this piece is a testament to American experiments in modernism and a commitment to regional heritage.
This object was
George R. Kravis II.
It is credited
Gift of George R. Kravis II.
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Its dimensions are
H x W x L: 76.2 × 73.7 × 172.7 cm (30 in. × 29 in. × 5 ft. 8 in.)
Cite this object as
Chaise Longue, 1950-52; oak (frame), woven oak strips; H x W x L: 76.2 × 73.7 × 172.7 cm (30 in. × 29 in. × 5 ft. 8 in.); Gift of George R. Kravis II; 2018-22-75
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Energizing the Everyday: Gifts From the George R. Kravis II Collection.