Chair

Designed by Hector Guimard, French, 1867 - 1942

Geography:
Made in Paris, France, Europe

Date:
c. 1912

Medium:
Cherrywood and leather

Dimensions:
44 x 27 x 25 inches (111.8 x 68.6 x 63.5 cm) Seat (height): 21 inches (53.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
European Decorative Arts and Sculpture

* Gallery 160, European Art 1850-1900, first floor

Accession Number:
1948-64-1

Credit Line:
Gift of Mme Hector Guimard, 1948

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Label:
This chair was part of the dining room furnishings for the Paris townhouse Guimard designed for his wife and himself at 122 Avenue Mozart. Constructed between 1909 and 1912, the building still stands.

Additional information:
  • PublicationDesign, 1900-1940

    This chair was designed for the dining room of Hector Guimard's house, number 122 avenue Mozart in Paris, which was built by Guimard shortly after his marriage to the American painter Adeline Oppenheim. Executed between 1909 and 1912, the house contained reception and living quarters, Guimard's office suite, and a studio on the third floor for Mme Guimard. The dining room, which occupied one of two oval rooms on the first floor, demonstrated the innovative decorative style for which Guimard was known. Conceived entirely in plant forms and united by soft, flowing curves, the architecture and interior decoration--from plaster ceiling ornaments, lighting fixtures, and door and window hardware to woodwork and furniture--represented an exercise in total design, a single comprehensive aesthetic. This and the other dining chairs were carved with tendril-like crest rails, which appear as if they might sprout and blossom, and were originally ranged around a table whose legs seemed to grow naturalistically out of a mound of carpeting. In an interview of 1899, Guimard described the source of his synthetic style: "It is from nature that one must always seek advice. When I design a piece of furniture or sculpt it, I reflect upon the spectacle the universe provides. Beauty appears there in constant variety. There is no parallelism, no symmetry: forms are perpetuated in movements that are never the same."

    After the designer's death, his widow hoped to make their house a Guimard museum. She was later obliged to sell the house, however, and it was subsequently transformed into an apartment building. In 1948-49 she donated furniture and objects from the house to European and American museums; most of the dining-room furnishings were given to the Musée d'Art Moderne in Paris. Kathryn B. Hiesinger and George H. Marcus, from Guides to European Decorative Arts: Design 1900-1940 (1987), p. 18.

* Works in the collection are moved off view for many different reasons. Although gallery locations on the website are updated regularly, there is no guarantee that this object will be on display on the day of your visit.