Collection Theme

The Art of the Chair

More than any other type of decorative art, chairs resemble the human body, possessing backs, legs, arms, and seats.

This natural affinity perhaps explains the appeal that the chair holds for designers. For centuries, artists have been stretching the boundaries of the chair form, experimenting with new materials and production techniques as well as exploring shifting stylistic and aesthetic approaches. Carnegie Museum of Art’s vast seating collection celebrates the diversity, beauty, and innovation of chair design from the late 17th century to the present. Noteworthy highlights from the collection include timeless examples made in the conventional medium of wood as well as pioneering 20th-century designs in tubular steel, aluminum, and plastics. The remarkable shapes and unique materials of the last few decades attest to the blurring of the aesthetic and the functional in chair designs.