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"Elastic" chair: Gallery Label - Current


Minneapolis Institute of Arts



Institution Minneapolis Institute of Arts
In 1808, Samuel Gragg of Boston received the patent for his "Elastic Chair." The chair replicates the curves of the Greek klismos chair depicted in ancient paintings and sculpture. Its classical theme is continued with painted decoration in the form of acanthus leaves, peacock feathers, and cloven hoof feet. Rather than using traditional wood and joinery techniques, Gragg employed steam-bent wood and construction, which made it possible to form each rounded arm out of a single piece of wood. Gragg's chair was lighter, more flexible (or "elastic"), and less expensive to produce. For these reasons, it is considered one of the most innovative chairs in American history, especially as it predates the work of his European counterpart, Michael Thonet, who established his bentwood manufacturing company Gebrüder Thonet in 1853.
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Source: Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Rights: Copyright Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Added to Site: March 10, 2009