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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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Pair of 'Cat' chairs by Christopher Guy, France (140 x 55 x 55cm)
Mar 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
Pair of 'Cat' chairs by Christopher Guy, France (140 x 55 x 55cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD32512 Bids
Pair of Ray swivel chairs by Jakob Wagner for HAY (63 x 80 x 65cm)
Mar 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
Pair of Ray swivel chairs by Jakob Wagner for HAY (63 x 80 x 65cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD400- AUD500
AUD28010 Bids
Pair of ash 'Barca' plantation lounge chairs by Marco Sousa Santos for Branca (75 x 120 x 75cm)
Mar 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
Pair of ash 'Barca' plantation lounge chairs by Marco Sousa Santos for Branca (75 x 120 x 75cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD1,200- AUD1,800
AUD2207 Bids
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Charles Rennie MACKINTOSH (1868-1928) Chaise "292 Hill House 1"- modèle créé en 1902
Mar 13, 2:00 PM CET
Charles Rennie MACKINTOSH (1868-1928) Chaise "292 Hill House 1"- modèle créé en 1902
by Artcurial
Est: €200- €300
€4006 Bids
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WEGNER, HANS (1914-2007), "Folding chair model JH-512",
Mar 22, 2:00 PM CET
WEGNER, HANS (1914-2007), "Folding chair model JH-512",
by Auktionshaus Eppli
Est: €0- €0
€2205 Bids
Set of six French style wrought metal dining chairs (90 x 55 x 55cm)
Mar 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
Set of six French style wrought metal dining chairs (90 x 55 x 55cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD2405 Bids
Set of four 1970s velvet upholstered dining chairs by Ramler (85 x 61 x 60cm)
Mar 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
Set of four 1970s velvet upholstered dining chairs by Ramler (85 x 61 x 60cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD300- AUD400
AUD6505 Bids
Par de cadeiras alemãs, Design do séc. XX, em metal cromado
Mar 11, 7:00 PM WET
Par de cadeiras alemãs, Design do séc. XX, em metal cromado
by Palácio do Correio Velho
Est: €300- €600
€4004 Bids
Pair of Finnish 'Remmi' lounge chairs by Yrjö Kukkapuro for Modeo (75 x 70 x 70cm)
Mar 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
Pair of Finnish 'Remmi' lounge chairs by Yrjö Kukkapuro for Modeo (75 x 70 x 70cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD400- AUD600
AUD253 Bids
Mid C20th Danish blackwood armchair (70 x 61 x 56cm)
Mar 07, 10:00 AM AEDT
Mid C20th Danish blackwood armchair (70 x 61 x 56cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD200- AUD300
AUD253 Bids
FRENCH CHILD SIZED FAUTEUIL
Mar 13, 11:15 AM EDT
FRENCH CHILD SIZED FAUTEUIL
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $100- $1,000
$602 Bids
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Philippe STARCK (Né en 1949) Suite de six fauteuils "246 Passion" - modèle créé en 2007
Mar 13, 2:00 PM CET
Philippe STARCK (Né en 1949) Suite de six fauteuils "246 Passion" - modèle créé en 2007
by Artcurial
Est: €500- €800
€6002 Bids
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Arne JACOBSEN (1902-1971) Fauteuil pivotant "3317" dit "Egg Chair" - modèle créé en 1958
Mar 13, 2:00 PM CET
Arne JACOBSEN (1902-1971) Fauteuil pivotant "3317" dit "Egg Chair" - modèle créé en 1958
by Artcurial
Est: €800- €1,200
€8002 Bids
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Verner PANTON (1926-1998) Chaise "Panton Chair"- modèle créé circa 1960
Mar 13, 2:00 PM CET
Verner PANTON (1926-1998) Chaise "Panton Chair"- modèle créé circa 1960
by Artcurial
Est: €100- €150
€1002 Bids
PAIR ITALIAN LEATHER AND WALNUT TIMBER CHAIRS
Mar 13, 11:15 AM EDT
PAIR ITALIAN LEATHER AND WALNUT TIMBER CHAIRS
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $1,000- $10,000
$1002 Bids
Renaissance Revival Style Savanarola Curure Chair
Mar 09, 10:00 AM MST
Renaissance Revival Style Savanarola Curure Chair
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$152 Bids
Pair of French Provincial-Style Bergères and One Footstool
Mar 07, 10:00 AM PST
Pair of French Provincial-Style Bergères and One Footstool
by Abell Auction
Est: $200- $400
$1252 Bids
Marchelo Design Modern Italian Dining Chairs
Mar 09, 10:00 AM EST
Marchelo Design Modern Italian Dining Chairs
by Premier Auction Galleries
Est: $200- $400
$401 Bid
FRENCH IRON & WOOD CHAIR
Mar 13, 11:15 AM EDT
FRENCH IRON & WOOD CHAIR
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $100- $1,000
$501 Bid
PAIR FRENCH ARMCHAIRS
Mar 13, 11:15 AM EDT
PAIR FRENCH ARMCHAIRS
by Ashcroft and Moore
Est: $1,000- $10,000
$1001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell European Chairs


Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH

Quittenbaum Kunstauktionen GmbH

Artcurial

Artcurial

Piasa

Piasa

Setdart Auction House

Setdart Auction House