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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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(8pc) French Louis Xv Style Dining Chair Set
Dec 10, 10:00 AM MST
(8pc) French Louis Xv Style Dining Chair Set
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$1007 Bids
4 PHILIPPE STARCK VICTORIA GHOST KARTELL Chairs
Dec 21, 10:00 AM EST
4 PHILIPPE STARCK VICTORIA GHOST KARTELL Chairs
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $200- $1,000
$63 Bids
(2) FRENCH LOUIS PHILIPPE STYLE FAUTEUILS
Dec 10, 9:00 AM CST
(2) FRENCH LOUIS PHILIPPE STYLE FAUTEUILS
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$2002 Bids
SET 4 TROEDS "KONTIKI" MODEL TEAK DINING CHAIRS. ENGVE EKSTROM, DESIGNER. SWEDISH MODERN. MARKED
Dec 06, 10:00 AM EST
SET 4 TROEDS "KONTIKI" MODEL TEAK DINING CHAIRS. ENGVE EKSTROM, DESIGNER. SWEDISH MODERN. MARKED
by Uniques & Antiques
Est: $150- $200
$1002 Bids
Vintage Upholstered French Bergere Armchair
Dec 21, 10:00 AM EST
Vintage Upholstered French Bergere Armchair
by The Benefit Shop Foundation Inc.
Est: $40- $80
$12 Bids
Lote três cadeiras de braços D. Maria
Dec 12, 7:00 PM WET
Lote três cadeiras de braços D. Maria
by Palácio do Correio Velho
Est: €300- €500
€3002 Bids
LOUIS XVI-STYLE WHITE-PAINTED BERGERE
Dec 08, 9:00 AM PST
LOUIS XVI-STYLE WHITE-PAINTED BERGERE
by Abell Auction
Est: $100- $200
$502 Bids
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Set of Eight Hans Wegner Upholstered Oak Model CH34 Dining Armchairs
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
Set of Eight Hans Wegner Upholstered Oak Model CH34 Dining Armchairs
by Doyle New York
Est: $800- $1,200
$4252 Bids
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4 FRENCH MID CENTURY MODERN FRUITWOOD SIDE CHAIRS
Dec 06, 10:00 AM EST
4 FRENCH MID CENTURY MODERN FRUITWOOD SIDE CHAIRS
by Litchfield Auctions
Est: $300- $500
$1501 Bid
(2) FRENCH LOUIS XIV STYLE OAK HIGHBACK FAUTEUILS
Dec 11, 9:00 AM CST
(2) FRENCH LOUIS XIV STYLE OAK HIGHBACK FAUTEUILS
by Austin Auction Gallery
Est: $300- $500
$2001 Bid
Le Corbusier
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CET
Le Corbusier
by Svendborg Auktionerne ApS
Est: 7,500 kr- 15,000 kr
7,400 kr1 Bid
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HANSPETER STEIGER, STUHL "TORSIO"
Dec 12, 10:00 AM CET
HANSPETER STEIGER, STUHL "TORSIO"
by Schuler Auktionen
Est: CHF100- CHF200
CHF1001 Bid
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Set of Six Arne Jacobsen Colored Plywood and Metal Ant Dining Chairs
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
Set of Six Arne Jacobsen Colored Plywood and Metal Ant Dining Chairs
by Doyle New York
Est: $200- $400
$1001 Bid
PAIR CONTEMPORARY JEAN ROYERE STYLE EGG CHAIRS ON TAPERED ANGLED LEGS.
Dec 06, 10:00 AM EST
PAIR CONTEMPORARY JEAN ROYERE STYLE EGG CHAIRS ON TAPERED ANGLED LEGS.
by Uniques & Antiques
Est: $500- $700
$3501 Bid
A pair of Andalusian polychrome rocking chairs
Dec 19, 6:00 PM CET
A pair of Andalusian polychrome rocking chairs
by Bayeu Subastas
Est: €250- €300
€2501 Bid
Mario Bellini for Cassel
Dec 10, 10:00 AM CET
Mario Bellini for Cassel
by Svendborg Auktionerne ApS
Est: 1,000 kr- 2,000 kr
1,000 kr1 Bid
SET OF 12 ITALIAN GILT UPHOLSTERED CHAIRS
Dec 09, 12:00 PM EST
SET OF 12 ITALIAN GILT UPHOLSTERED CHAIRS
by Dennis Auction Service
Est: $500- $1,000
$2501 Bid
RARE ILLUM WIKKELSO FOR N EILERSEN WOVEN LOUNGE CHAIR. CIRCA 1950.
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
RARE ILLUM WIKKELSO FOR N EILERSEN WOVEN LOUNGE CHAIR. CIRCA 1950.
by Uniques & Antiques
Est: $300- $400
$2001 Bid
ITALIAN MID MOD MARCELLO CUNEO LUISA CHAIR
Dec 06, 4:00 PM EST
ITALIAN MID MOD MARCELLO CUNEO LUISA CHAIR
by DejaVu Estate Sales & Auctions
Est: $50- $100
$201 Bid
4 FRENCH GRANGE WICKER RATTAN LIDO CHAIRS
Dec 06, 4:00 PM EST
4 FRENCH GRANGE WICKER RATTAN LIDO CHAIRS
by DejaVu Estate Sales & Auctions
Est: $1,000- $2,000
$1001 Bid
SET 4 KARTELL STARCK BLUE ACRYLIC CHAIRS. CHROME BASE. ERO LSL. MADE IN ITALY
Dec 07, 10:00 AM EST
SET 4 KARTELL STARCK BLUE ACRYLIC CHAIRS. CHROME BASE. ERO LSL. MADE IN ITALY
by Uniques & Antiques
Est: $400- $600
$3001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell European Chairs


Wannenes Art Auctions

Wannenes Art Auctions

Uniques & Antiques

Uniques & Antiques

Setdart Auction House

Setdart Auction House

Svendborg Auktionerne ApS

Svendborg Auktionerne ApS