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European Chairs

Early European chairs encompass a wide variety of styles. Prior to the 17th century, luxury chairs were designed with an open scheme to allow for the wide skirts of women in period dress. 17th-century European chairs resembled the fancifulness of the time. Created with gilded wood and high backs, the chairs were designed to make the seated individual look and feel like royalty. Chair designers in the 18th century were no less opulent. From this century comes chairs with extensive embroidery and animal feet. It is also from the 18th century that many long-lived styles such as Georgian, Queen Anne, and Chippendale emerged.

In '20s Europe, Art Deco took hold of interior design, making use of materials such as inlaid wood, chrome, aluminum, and plastic. Chairs were upholstered in leather or exotic fabrics. The style was both severe and decadent at the same time. Notable chair designers of the Art Deco period include Paul Follot, Georges deFeure, and Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann. With the onset of World War II, furniture returned to a very economical and comfortable style. A return to modernity in the mid-century modern era featured bold shapes, futuristic materials, and bright colors. Danish modern designer Arne Jacobsen created the Swan chair out of a fiberglass shell covered in foam rubber and upholstered with fabric or leather, while Hans Wegner created a low-back teak and cane piece that became known simply as The Chair.

The design of European chairs today is an amalgam of these previous aesthetics, whether a traditional antique chair or a modern luxury piece like designer Marc Newson’s embryo chair created in 1988. The embryo chair, formed in one piece from polyurethane foam and bathed in bright color, is reminiscent of the tide of mid-century modern style that swept the world earlier in the century.


Quick Facts

  • A 1988 Marc Newson embryo chair sold for $3,125 at an auction by Phillips in 2013
  • A Ruhlmann Crapaud armchair circa 1925 sold for $36,312 at a Phillips auction in London in 2014
  • An Arne Jacobsen Ox lounge chair circa 1966 brought $40,000 at a Phillips New York auction in 2015

Recommended Items at Auction

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CUSTOM CONTEMPORARY UPHOLSTERED CLUB CHAIR
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
CUSTOM CONTEMPORARY UPHOLSTERED CLUB CHAIR
by Litchfield Auctions
Est: $100- $200
$65011 Bids
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VINTAGE SELIG DANISH MODERN SCULPTED LOUNGE CHAIR DESIGNED BY IB KOFOD-LARSEN
Nov 07, 9:00 AM MST
VINTAGE SELIG DANISH MODERN SCULPTED LOUNGE CHAIR DESIGNED BY IB KOFOD-LARSEN
by Bradford's
Est: $0- $0
$1008 Bids
Set of six French Thonet style bentwood bistro chairs, with cane seats & backs, each approx 91cm H (6)
Oct 24, 11:00 AM AEDT
Set of six French Thonet style bentwood bistro chairs, with cane seats & backs, each approx 91cm H (6)
by Vickers & Hoad
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD3204 Bids
Restoration Hardware Oviedo Leather Lounge Chair
Nov 10, 2:00 PM EST
Restoration Hardware Oviedo Leather Lounge Chair
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$1504 Bids
French Louis XVI style wing arm chair painted frame
Oct 31, 4:00 PM AEDT
French Louis XVI style wing arm chair painted frame
by Vickers & Hoad
Est: AUD300- AUD500
AUD2803 Bids
Le Corbusier (1887-1965) LC4 Chaise Lounge Chair
Nov 10, 2:00 PM EST
Le Corbusier (1887-1965) LC4 Chaise Lounge Chair
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$753 Bids
Corona Chair with Ottoman Designed by Paul Volther
Nov 10, 2:00 PM EST
Corona Chair with Ottoman Designed by Paul Volther
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$1003 Bids
HANS WEGNER WING LOUNGE CHAIR & OTTOMAN
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
HANS WEGNER WING LOUNGE CHAIR & OTTOMAN
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $1,500- $3,000
$7502 Bids
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8 JEAN-MICHEL FRANK STYLE DINING CHAIRS, MATTALIAN
Oct 20, 10:00 AM EDT
8 JEAN-MICHEL FRANK STYLE DINING CHAIRS, MATTALIAN
by Litchfield Auctions
Est: $800- $1,200
$4002 Bids
Orbit Luxe Fur Ball Chair for Restoration Hardware
Nov 10, 2:00 PM EST
Orbit Luxe Fur Ball Chair for Restoration Hardware
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$1502 Bids
Pierre Paulin for Ligne Roset Pumpkin Blue Chairs
Nov 10, 2:00 PM EST
Pierre Paulin for Ligne Roset Pumpkin Blue Chairs
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$5502 Bids
Philippe Stark for Kartell, Louis Ghost Chair
Oct 23, 10:00 AM CDT
Philippe Stark for Kartell, Louis Ghost Chair
by Link Auction Galleries
Est: $125- $175
$1252 Bids
LC4 Chaise Lounge Chair Designed by Le Corbusier
Nov 10, 2:00 PM EST
LC4 Chaise Lounge Chair Designed by Le Corbusier
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$252 Bids
Rowland Suddaby: Girl Sitting, 1935 Watercolor/Pencil
Oct 28, 12:00 PM EDT
Rowland Suddaby: Girl Sitting, 1935 Watercolor/Pencil
by Zikorn Arts
Est: $600- $800
$6001 Bid
FOUR RIETVELD FOR CASSINA "ZIG ZAG" CHAIRS
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
FOUR RIETVELD FOR CASSINA "ZIG ZAG" CHAIRS
by Ahlers & Ogletree Inc.
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0001 Bid
Office chair, probably Kare design, in the design of
Oct 30, 10:00 AM CEST
Office chair, probably Kare design, in the design of
by Henry's Auktionshaus AG
Est: €180- €250
€1601 Bid
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV STYLE GILDED AND UPHOLSTERED FAUTEUILS, each with pierce
Oct 23, 10:00 AM BST
A PAIR OF LOUIS XV STYLE GILDED AND UPHOLSTERED FAUTEUILS, each with pierce
by Elstob and Elstob
Est: £300- £500
£1801 Bid
Paire de Fauteuils LC2 de Le Corbusier par CASSINA Paire de fauteuils LC2 Villa Church à structure
Oct 24, 2:30 PM CEST
Paire de Fauteuils LC2 de Le Corbusier par CASSINA Paire de fauteuils LC2 Villa Church à structure
by Lux Auction
Est: €2,500- €3,000
€2,0001 Bid
Fabio Lenci b1935 for Stendig Hyaline Lounge Chair
Nov 10, 2:00 PM EST
Fabio Lenci b1935 for Stendig Hyaline Lounge Chair
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$251 Bid
Nichols And Stone Furniture Cherry Dining Chairs
Oct 29, 5:00 PM EDT
Nichols And Stone Furniture Cherry Dining Chairs
by Mebane Antique Auction
Est: $10- $1,000
$51 Bid
PAIR BRONZE MOUNTED MAHOGANY FRENCH EMPIRE CHAIRS
Oct 28, 11:00 AM EDT
PAIR BRONZE MOUNTED MAHOGANY FRENCH EMPIRE CHAIRS
by Kamelot Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$2751 Bid
Pair of French Louis XVI Style Bergere Chairs
Oct 23, 10:00 AM EDT
Pair of French Louis XVI Style Bergere Chairs
by Atlanta Auction Gallery, ltd
Est: $750- $1,500
$2501 Bid
6 STENCILED EARLY HITCHCOCK CHAIRS
Oct 24, 1:00 PM EDT
6 STENCILED EARLY HITCHCOCK CHAIRS
by Charleston Estate Auctions
Est: $400- $600
$51 Bid

Sellers Who Sell European Chairs


Aste Boetto SRL

Aste Boetto SRL

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Kamelot Auctions

Carvajal SVV

Carvajal SVV

Côte Basque Enchères

Côte Basque Enchères