11665 AN UNUSUAL AND LARGE PAIR OF ‘ETRUSCAN’ PAINTED KLISMOS INSPIRED CHAIRS Probably Italian. First Half Of The Nineteenth Century. Measurements Height: 33 1/2″ (85 cm) Width: 22″ (55.8 cm) Depth: 28 1/2″ (72.3 cm) Seat Height: 8 1/2″ (46.9 cm)

Of polychrome painted wood. Each with a rectangular curved toprail centered by a concave central splat and supported on each end by two conforming uprights issuing from the rear corners, all painted with light-yellow ochre and porphyry color grotesque, palmette and anthemion decoration. The upholstered rectangular seat above a seatrail painted with a checkerboard pattern and central rectangular reserve on each side. The whole raised on four outwardly angled monopod legs headed by scrolled palmettes and terminating in paw feet. Infilling to some  flaked areas of paintwork.

The present chairs are an unusual and inventive interpretation of a classical form. They were probably part of a larger set that included armchairs and side chairs, now dispersed, from an Upper West Side New York apartment designed by Christopher G. Ciccone, and featured in a November 1991 issue of Architectural Digest (figure 1).

The klismos chair, derived from the word κλίνει (to lean), was a Greek seating innovation recognized by its splayed, sabre-form legs, and uprights supporting a concave backrest that conformed to the sitter’s body for support and comfort. The form was adopted by the ancient Romans and, while original examples were lost to decay, became known to eighteenth and nineteenth century Europeans through their representation on vase painting and in sculpture.

Full research report available on request.


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