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Decorative Arts and Design

George Jacob Hunzinger was one of the first designers for whom the machine became an aesthetic influence. Indeed, the structural members of this chair, with its pared-down design, resemble parts of the machines used to produce it. This is a very early example of the machine aesthetic, which would become the norm in the early twentieth century.

Hunzinger secured twenty-one patents for the wide range of furniture that he designed, including folding and reclining chairs, flip-top gaming tables, and folding beds. He used the ideas of novelty and invention as selling tools and proudly marked each chair with the patent date.
MEDIUM Walnut, steel mesh, fabric
  • Place Manufactured: New York, New York, United States
  • DATES ca. 1876
    DIMENSIONS 33 3/8 x 21 x 18 1/2 in. (84.8 x 53.3 x 47 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS Impressed into proper left rear leg at rear, on diagonal, just behind seat: "PAT. A [loss where dowel has been repaired] 1876 / PAT. MARCH 30 / 1869 / HUNZINGER."
    SIGNATURE no signature
    INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
    CREDIT LINE H. Randolph Lever Fund
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Armchair, steel mesh with fabric, stained in middle-tone with mainly turned parts, ebonized details and red fabric. Composed of rectangular back raised atop gently curving rectangular legs by two levels of turned spindles. Attached to each side of the back, an arm that begins parallel to the back then abruptly curves to a horizontal plane (each arm capped at each end by a turned cone). Supporting the front of each arm is a long diagonal front leg which is attached to the sides of the rectangular seat. Spanning the front legs is a stretcher that also supports two uprights that support the front of the seat. Condition: Good, original finish and worn. Some conservation work is evident. Replacement of dowels and glue repairs. See conservation report on file.
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
    CAPTION George Jacob Hunzinger (American, born Germany, 1835–1898). Armchair, ca. 1876. Walnut, steel mesh, fabric, 33 3/8 x 21 x 18 1/2 in. (84.8 x 53.3 x 47 cm). Brooklyn Museum, H. Randolph Lever Fund, 83.27. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 83.27_IMLS_SL2.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 83.27_IMLS_SL2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
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    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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