Advanced Search


Not on view


Artist: George Jacob Hunzinger (German, 1835-1889; active New York, New York, 1860-1898)

Date: 1876
Medium: Wood, fabric, and steel
Overall: 38 3/4 x 27 5/8 x 22in. (98.4 x 70.2 x 55.9cm)
Markings: Impressed marks: "HUNZINGER" and "PAT APRIL 18 1876" back of proper left leg.
Credit Line: 75th Anniversary Acquisition. Museum Purchase
Object number: 2011.16
Label Text
In 1876 the visionary and innovative furniture designer and manufacturer George Hunzinger patented an "Improvement in Chair Seats and Backs" that utilized fabric-covered flat steel wire to create woven mesh seats and backs, as seen on this chair. This upholstery technique made for a comfortable surface that provided ventilation as well as durability. The Museum's example is in remarkably good condition.

This chair not only reflects Hunzinger's innovative approach to technology, but also his well-informed aesthetic eclecticism. He often quoted peculiar historical precedents in the minor details of his work. The conical finials on the seat back and armrests, for example, refer to pinecone forms in ancient Assyrian furniture. Additionally, the distinctive spheres beneath the seat rail quote French medieval furniture. Hunzinger had an affinity for abstracted geometrical forms, and spheres became one of his favored motifs in the 1880's. The Museum owns two other examples of Hunzinger furniture, and each exemplifies a different Hunzinger design patent.