International Decorative Art

Tulip Chair

Tulip Chair

Design Date c. 1960

Designer Estelle Laverne (1915-1997, American) & Erwine Laverne (1909-2003, American)

Manufacturer Laverne International, New York, NY

Media lacquered fiberglass and enameled metal

Dimensions 49 1/2 x 45 1/2 x 31 1/2 inches

The tulip was an important inspiration for decorative art of the 1950s and 1960s. The trendiness of tulips was in their exaggerated proportions: bulbous top, narrow stem and wide base—proportions that became technologically possible in modern design with the advent of new materials and ways of production. The tulip was seen in the flared tops, pinched waists and narrow bottoms of Dior’s New Look clothes, as well as in slim-stemmed and wide-bowled wine glasses and vases. Eero Saarinen called his flared-base chairs for Knoll Tulip chairs, and in 1960, husband and wife team Erwine and Estelle Laverne created their own Tulip Chair, seen here. The Laverne Tulip Chair incorporated the wide base, as well as the slim (if attenuated) stem. The seat of the chair resembles three petals of a tulip, with two folded down for arms on either side of a tall back. The fiberglass shell made it possible to copy the curve of petals.

ON VIEW in Vance Kirkland Gallery 1

Markings unmarked

Credit Line Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art

Accession Number 2012.0765