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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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MCM Soren Hansen Wingback Lounge Chair Black Hide
May 25, 11:00 AM EDT
MCM Soren Hansen Wingback Lounge Chair Black Hide
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $100- $15,000
$4009 Bids
MCM Kai Kristiansen Rosewood Danish Side Chair
May 25, 11:00 AM EDT
MCM Kai Kristiansen Rosewood Danish Side Chair
by Kavanagh Auctions
Est: $50- $15,000
$1207 Bids
PAOLA NAVONE POUR BAXTER, ITALIE CHAISE " NÉPAL "
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
PAOLA NAVONE POUR BAXTER, ITALIE CHAISE " NÉPAL "
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €200- €400
€2607 Bids
POLTRONA FRAU SUITE DE 6 CHAISES MODÈLE " DIVA "
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
POLTRONA FRAU SUITE DE 6 CHAISES MODÈLE " DIVA "
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €2,000- €4,000
€8507 Bids
MINOTTI, DESIGN PAR RODOLFO DORDONI PAIRE DE FAUTEUILS PIVOTANT MODÈLE "JACQUES"
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
MINOTTI, DESIGN PAR RODOLFO DORDONI PAIRE DE FAUTEUILS PIVOTANT MODÈLE "JACQUES"
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €1,000- €2,000
€2206 Bids
MARIO SCOLARI POUR GIORGETTI FAUTEUIL DE BUREAU DESIGN
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
MARIO SCOLARI POUR GIORGETTI FAUTEUIL DE BUREAU DESIGN
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €250- €500
€1006 Bids
LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE (1886-1969), D'APRÈS PAIRE DE CHAUFFEUSES
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE (1886-1969), D'APRÈS PAIRE DE CHAUFFEUSES
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €1,000- €2,000
€5506 Bids
IMG Norway Pair of Modern Leather Luna Club Chairs
May 29, 12:00 PM EDT
IMG Norway Pair of Modern Leather Luna Club Chairs
by Hill Auction Gallery
Est: $100- $1,000
$1755 Bids
Pair of Italian white leather and chrome armchairs (66 x 51 x 53cm)
May 30, 10:00 AM AEST
Pair of Italian white leather and chrome armchairs (66 x 51 x 53cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD405 Bids
A set of 5 oak Brutalist ‘Rapsodie’ chairs by Kunstmeubelen De Puydt, Belgium, 70's, H 107 - W 40 - 60 cm
May 30, 10:00 AM CEST
A set of 5 oak Brutalist ‘Rapsodie’ chairs by Kunstmeubelen De Puydt, Belgium, 70's, H 107 - W 40 - 60 cm
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €400- €600
€3004 Bids
PAOLA NAVONE POUR GERVASONI FAUTEUIL MODÈLE "NUOVOLA "
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
PAOLA NAVONE POUR GERVASONI FAUTEUIL MODÈLE "NUOVOLA "
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €750- €1,500
€1004 Bids
French Walnut cane upholstered bergère.
May 29, 6:00 PM AEST
French Walnut cane upholstered bergère.
by The Auction Club
Est: AUD400- AUD500
AUD2752 Bids
A vintage pair of loacoda chairs by Waldmann, Golz en Schmidt, made by Durlet, Belgium 1972, H 73 - W 80 cm
May 30, 10:00 AM CEST
A vintage pair of loacoda chairs by Waldmann, Golz en Schmidt, made by Durlet, Belgium 1972, H 73 - W 80 cm
by Carlo Bonte Auctions
Est: €400- €600
€3002 Bids
1970s Italian white leather loungechair by Nicoletti Salotti (86 x 120 x 88cm)
May 30, 10:00 AM AEST
1970s Italian white leather loungechair by Nicoletti Salotti (86 x 120 x 88cm)
by Lawsons
Est: AUD100- AUD200
AUD202 Bids
GIO PONTI POUR POLTRONA FRAU PAIRE DE FAUTEUILS " DEZZA "
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
GIO PONTI POUR POLTRONA FRAU PAIRE DE FAUTEUILS " DEZZA "
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €1,000- €2,000
€102 Bids
Sessel mit Ottomane Hans Eichenberger
Jun 01, 9:00 AM CEST
Sessel mit Ottomane Hans Eichenberger
by Auktionshaus Zofingen
Est: CHF400- CHF500
CHF4001 Bid
Set of 8 EJ Victor dining chairs
Jun 02, 12:00 PM EDT
Set of 8 EJ Victor dining chairs
by South Jersey Auction by Babington Auction Inc.
Est: $2,000- $4,000
$1,0001 Bid
Empire Style Mahogany Dining Chairs, 10
Jun 23, 12:00 PM EDT
Empire Style Mahogany Dining Chairs, 10
by Auctions at Showplace
Est: $1,500- $2,500
$3001 Bid
Paar Sessel Walter Knoll
Jun 01, 9:00 AM CEST
Paar Sessel Walter Knoll
by Auktionshaus Zofingen
Est: CHF640- CHF800
CHF6001 Bid
BO CONCEPT PAIRE DE FAUTEUILS DE BAR MODÈLE " ADÉLAÏDE "
May 29, 2:00 PM CEST
BO CONCEPT PAIRE DE FAUTEUILS DE BAR MODÈLE " ADÉLAÏDE "
by Accademia Fine Art
Est: €100- €200
€101 Bid
Ilmari Tapiovaara, Kiki Moka lounge chair
May 29, 11:00 AM CDT
Ilmari Tapiovaara, Kiki Moka lounge chair
by Wright
Est: $700- $900
$501 Bid
Ilmari Tapiovaara, Kiki Moka lounge chair
May 29, 11:00 AM CDT
Ilmari Tapiovaara, Kiki Moka lounge chair
by Wright
Est: $700- $900
$501 Bid

Sellers Who Sell European Chairs


Westport Auction

Westport Auction

Piasa

Piasa

Wright

Wright

Setdart Auction House

Setdart Auction House