High-Back Dining Chair
Charles Rohlfs (1853–1936, American)
54 1/2 x 18 x 16 1/2 inches
The design for this high-back dining chair was derived from another of Charles Rohlf’s designs, for a more ornate desk chair. Rohlfs was inspired by the intricately carved royal thrones he saw on a trip to England and Europe. Rohlfs’s turn-of-the-century designs are unique for their combination of Arts & Crafts and Art Nouveau aesthetics with a proto-modernist bent. The chair’s dark wood and exposed joints relate it to the Arts & Crafts movement, though the organic pattern of the carved back has an Art Nouveau flair, looking back as well to Celtic and Nordic motifs. The straight-lined narrow back is innovative and indicative of the modern ideas found in some of Rohlfs’s designs, which would foreshadow the furniture designs of Frank Lloyd Wright. Rohlfs contrasted the delicate carving of the seat back with the visible joinery and wooden pegs, which lend a rustic note. Similarly, the narrow back is aristocratic and impractical, while the seat and legs of the chair are plain and entirely functional.
ON VIEW in Arts & Crafts Gallery 3
Carved "R" monogram and "1901", left rear
Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art