Back To Previous Page

The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design

  • 100 Lafayette Street, Fifth Floor Shaw Center for the Arts Baton Rouge, LA 70801
  • LSU Museum of Art at the Shaw Center for the Arts
  • March 11, 2021 - June 6, 2021
  • Recurring daily
  • Price: Adults, 13 and older: $5Children, 12 and under: FreeMembers: FreeUniversity student with ID: FreeVeterans and their families: Free with military IDThe first Sunday of every month is FREE admission. Every Friday night from 5-8 p.m. is also FREE.
  • (225) 389-7200

The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design provides audiences with a unique opportunity to see chair types that usually reside in private homes, withheld from public display. The American Chair Collection is a comprehensive private collection of iconic and historic chairs reaching back from the mid-1800s to pieces from today's studio movement. The exhibition provides an opportunity to see readily recognizable pieces alongside those rarely seen by the public. 

Selections from the Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation offer a stylistic journey in furniture with showstoppers by John Henry Belter, George Hunzinger, the Herter Brothers, the Stickley Brothers, Frank Lloyd Wright, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Isamu Noguchi, Frank Gehry and others waiting to be discovered. The exhibition also features contemporary and historic designs by some of the biggest manufacturers such as Knoll, Herman Miller and Steelcase. Curated by Ben Thompson, curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, The Art of Seating takes the viewer into the design studio through patent drawings, documented upholstery, artist renderings and multimedia presentations. 

Most chairs encountered throughout the day define themselves fairly simply—a place at the family table, a comfortable spot with a great view of the river, a seat of corporate power. When looking at the 43 chairs selected for The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design, however, there is much more to see than simple pieces of furniture. Perhaps the most illustrious piece of history in this collection is that of the House of Representatives Chamber Arm Chair from 1857. Designed by Thomas U. Walter, Architect of the Capitol from 1851 to 1865, the House of Representatives chairs were created to be used in the halls of Congress and were showcased in portraits of political leaders such as Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. A later design by David Wolcott Kendall, deemed by his peers as “The Dean of American Furniture Design,” was presented to William McKinley during his term in the White House and has become known as the “McKinley” arm chair. Developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville and organized for tour by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C, these works of art have compelling stories to tell about our national history, the evolution of American design and incredible artistry and craftsmanship. 

Chairs from the LSU Museum of Art permanent collection will expand the period of chair design even farther back in history to the 18th century’s Rococo and Baroque designs. 

ON VIEW AT LSU MOA March 11 – June 6, 2021


LSU Museum of Art thanks Partner Sponsor, Donald J. Boutté and Michael D. Robinson, and Presenting Sponsor, Taylor Porter Attorneys At Law, for sponsoring this exhibition. Additional support is provided by generous donors to the LSU MOA Annual Exhibition Fund: The Imo N. Brown Memorial Fund in memory of Heidel Brown and Mary Ann Brown; Louisiana CAT; Charles Schwing; The Alma Lee, H. N., and Cary Saurage Fund; The Newton B. Thomas Family/Newtron Group Fund; LSU College of Art & Design; Elizabeth M. Thomas; Mr. and Mrs. Sanford A. Arst.

The Art of Seating is organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, in collaboration with the Thomas H. and Diane DeMell Jacobsen Ph.D. Foundation and is toured by International Arts & Artists, Washington, D.C.

Programming sponsored by Louisiana CAT.

* Many events in Baton Rouge have been proactively postponed or cancelled due to COVID-19. For the most up-to-date event information, please check with the specific event's website or social media pages.