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Side Chair

Decorative Arts

On View: American Identities: A New Look, Orientation Gallery, 5th Floor

Ray Komai's molded plywood chair was manufactured in Brooklyn in 1949, using the latest American technology. Although European designers such as Marcel Breuer and Alvar Aalto designed plywood furniture in the 1930s, it was the Americans Charles and Ray Eames, in the years immediately after World War II, who realized the full potential of this material and bent one sheet of plywood in several directions. Komai's chair adds a sophisticated anthropomorphic twist. If you look closely, the chair's design suggests a human face.

MEDIUM Molded walnut plywood, chromed metal, rubber
  • Place Manufactured: Brooklyn, New York, United States
  • DATES ca. 1949
    DIMENSIONS 30 1/2 x 22 x 22 1/4 in. (77.5 x 55.9 x 56.5 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in American Identities: A New Look, Orientation Gallery, 5th Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1994.156.1
    CREDIT LINE Alfred T. and Caroline S. Zoebisch Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Ray Komai (American, born 1918). Side Chair, ca. 1949. Molded walnut plywood, chromed metal, rubber, 30 1/2 x 22 x 22 1/4 in. (77.5 x 55.9 x 56.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Alfred T. and Caroline S. Zoebisch Fund, 1994.156.1. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE overall, 1994.156.1_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Side chair. Molded walnut plywood, chromed metal and rubber. Ovoid continuous bent plywood seat and back with ovoid hollow at juncture of the seat and back which continues as narrow vertical void with flattened crest. Front splayed chromed tubular metal legs composed of one piece bent at right angle to support underside of seat; each splayed back leg bent at right angle at seat and soldered to continuous member of front legs. Metal support under seat with rubber strips beneath seat and horizontal chromed metal bar on back secured from front with two circular metal disks. Each leg with flattened metal circular pad. Condition: Good, veneer raised on proper left top seat seam, scratches and faded spots. Conservation report on file.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (87%)
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