It is always a bit disconcerting to see something familiar, in an unexpected setting, like an everyday object in a museum. I’m not speaking of some nameless village’s cabinet of curiosities, but a real museum, the Saint Louis Art Museum. It is a beautiful object, so to call it everyday is demeaning, better to call it familiar. My mom purchased four of these chairs, for her dining room set. I’ve sat in them for countless meals. Not only do they look good, they’re comfortable too. Rather than disconcerting, I think that she would find it comforting to hear that her chairs are in our art museum. It would be a vindication of her good taste. Me seeing this chair in the museum, was a reminder of her.
The following is an excerpt from the museum’s writeup.
Architect Eero Saarinen’s sleek, sculptural design is an icon of 20th-century furniture. Prior to World War II, he collaborated with Charles Eames on designs for organic furniture using bentwood. Following the war, Saarinen’s furniture designs employed new materials like plastic to achieve a modern form. This chair’s one-piece base was designed to replace the visual clutter of traditional furniture. In Saarinen’s words, “The undercarriage of chairs and tables in a typical interior makes an ugly, confusing, unrestful world. I wanted to cleat up the slum of legs. I wanted to make the chair all one thing again.”
Eero Saarinen, doesn’t he have some other art work around town? I think it is a sculpture piece. It will come to me. 😉