The Art of Seating: Centripetal Spring Arm Chair, by Thomas E. Warren

Designed by Thomas E. Warren (active with American Chair Co. 1849-52)

Designed by Thomas E. Warren (active with American Chair Co. 1849-52), Manufactured by the American Chair Co. (1829-1858), Troy, NY, Centripetal Spring Arm Chair, c. 1850, Photo by Michael Koryta and Andrew VanStyn, Director of Acquisitions, Conservation and Photography

Can a chair be a work of art? Of course it can! A chair is a type of sculpture that can also have a function. Some of them can only be decorative. Find the Centripetal Spring Art Chair in the Art of Seating exhibition. This chair can move side to side and rotate in any direction as well as under the weight of the sitter. It has a spring at the bottom, similar to a bouncy chair!

Looking Questions:

  • Describe what you see.
  • How would you describe its shape or form? Its colors?
  • Describe its texture.
  • What is the material being used to create this work?
  • If you could, would you want to sit in this chair? Why or why not?
  • Does it remind you of anything familiar?
  • What kind of person do you think would use this chair?
  • How do you feel when you look at this chair?
  • If you could give a new title to this work, what would it be?

Now find another chair in the galleries to compare with this chair.

What are the similarities between the two chairs?

What are the differences?

If you were able to sit in one of these chairs, which one would you chose and why?

If you could have one of these chairs in your home, which one would you chose and why?

Select another chair in the exhibit that you are drawn to. Take a picture of it on your mobile phone or do a brief sketch.

Why do you like this work? You can also Instagram your image and mention us @MichenerArt using the hashtag #artofseating.

Download a copy of this activity here.

To learn more about the exhibition, The Art of Seating, visit our website.

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