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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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Vintage 15th C. Style Savonarola Replica Folding Chair
Feb 04, 10:00 AM MST
Vintage 15th C. Style Savonarola Replica Folding Chair
by EJ'S Auction & Appraisal
Est: $0- $0
$559 Bids
TWO UPHOLSTERED SLIPPER CHAIRS The larger: 30 1/4 x 24 1/2 x 28 in. (76.8 x 62.2 x 71.1 cm.)
Feb 03, 10:00 AM EST
TWO UPHOLSTERED SLIPPER CHAIRS The larger: 30 1/4 x 24 1/2 x 28 in. (76.8 x 62.2 x 71.1 cm.)
by Potomack Company
Est: $100- $300
$4257 Bids
RADBOUD VAN BEEKUM
Feb 10, 7:00 PM CET
RADBOUD VAN BEEKUM
by Derksen Veilingbedrijf
Est: €150- €200
€1504 Bids
PIERRE PAULIN
Feb 10, 7:00 PM CET
PIERRE PAULIN
by Derksen Veilingbedrijf
Est: €700- €1,000
€8503 Bids
Barcelona Chair
Feb 11, 9:00 AM EST
Barcelona Chair
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$102 Bids
COMOLLI MARCO Three CP1 armchair for ICF De Padova
Feb 07, 2:00 PM CET
COMOLLI MARCO Three CP1 armchair for ICF De Padova
by Capitolium Art
Est: €800- €1,200
€4502 Bids
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An oversized Louis XV style caned mixed wood fauteuil, post 1950
Feb 08, 10:00 AM PST
An oversized Louis XV style caned mixed wood fauteuil, post 1950
by Andrew Jones Auctions
Est: $500- $700
$2502 Bids
LOUIS XVI STYLE PARCEL-GILT CREAM PAINTED FAUTEUIL 40 x 24 x 25 in. (101.6 x 61 x 63.5 cm.)
Feb 03, 10:00 AM EST
LOUIS XVI STYLE PARCEL-GILT CREAM PAINTED FAUTEUIL 40 x 24 x 25 in. (101.6 x 61 x 63.5 cm.)
by Potomack Company
Est: $100- $300
$802 Bids
VERNER PANTON
Feb 10, 7:00 PM CET
VERNER PANTON
by Derksen Veilingbedrijf
Est: €300- €500
€3001 Bid
Italian Chairs
Feb 11, 9:00 AM EST
Italian Chairs
by Dovetail Auctions, LLC
Est: $5- $500
$51 Bid
Set of 6 Costes chairs after Philippe Starck, not marked.
Feb 13, 11:00 AM CET
Set of 6 Costes chairs after Philippe Starck, not marked.
by Maison Jules Veilinghuis
Est: €400- €600
€4001 Bid
VICO MAGISTRETTI
Feb 10, 7:00 PM CET
VICO MAGISTRETTI
by Derksen Veilingbedrijf
Est: €200- €400
€2001 Bid
HANS WEGNER 'KENNEDY' ARMCHAIR
Feb 26, 11:00 AM EST
HANS WEGNER 'KENNEDY' ARMCHAIR
by Thomaston Place Auction Galleries
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5001 Bid
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A set of four Empire style gilt bronze mounted mahogany fauteuils, early 20th century
Feb 08, 10:00 AM PST
A set of four Empire style gilt bronze mounted mahogany fauteuils, early 20th century
by Andrew Jones Auctions
Est: $1,000- $1,500
$5001 Bid
GASTONE RINALDI, Rara poltrona basculante mod. “Ondalunga”
Feb 04, 3:30 PM CET
GASTONE RINALDI, Rara poltrona basculante mod. “Ondalunga”
by Benedetto Trionfante Casa d’Aste
Est: €1,300- €1,500
€4501 Bid
Paar Biedermeierstühle
Feb 18, 11:00 AM CET
Paar Biedermeierstühle
by Kunst-und Auktionshaus Schloss Hagenburg
Est: €0- €0
€1801 Bid
ITALIAN WORK Pair of armchairs
Feb 08, 2:00 PM CET
ITALIAN WORK Pair of armchairs
by Capitolium Art
Est: €700- €1,000
€3001 Bid
Miniature French Curved Back Chair
Feb 14, 12:00 PM EST
Miniature French Curved Back Chair
by Akiba Galleries
Est: $50- $500
$251 Bid
BELLINI MARIO (n. 1935) Three Amanta armchairs for C&B
Feb 08, 2:00 PM CET
BELLINI MARIO (n. 1935) Three Amanta armchairs for C&B
by Capitolium Art
Est: €500- €700
€3001 Bid
SALLE A MANGER DESIGN Avec ses 8 chaises Eos POLTRONA FRAU
Feb 16, 2:30 PM CET
SALLE A MANGER DESIGN Avec ses 8 chaises Eos POLTRONA FRAU
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €250- €500
€1901 Bid
URQUIOLA PATRICIA (n. 1961) Four Flo chairs for Driade
Feb 08, 2:00 PM CET
URQUIOLA PATRICIA (n. 1961) Four Flo chairs for Driade
by Capitolium Art
Est: €800- €1,200
€4001 Bid
GUIDO FALESCHINI, Quattro poltrone in metallo
Feb 04, 3:30 PM CET
GUIDO FALESCHINI, Quattro poltrone in metallo
by Benedetto Trionfante Casa d’Aste
Est: €1,200- €1,500
€5001 Bid

Sellers Who Sell European Chairs


Kamelot Auctions

Kamelot Auctions

Capitolium Art

Capitolium Art

Derksen Veilingbedrijf

Derksen Veilingbedrijf

Shapiro Auctioneers

Shapiro Auctioneers