From the Collection of Seating Furniture of Museum of Applied Art From Renaissance to Secession

06 November 2016 - 31 January 2017

The Exhibition will be opened by Mr Vladan Vukosavljević, Minster of Culture and Information of the Republic of Serbia

Author of Catalogue and Exhibition: Marija Bujić, museum advisor

Organizer: Museum of Applied Art

In celebration of Museum of Applied Art’s Day (founded on November 6, 1950) we are presenting exhibition „Chairs: Centuries of Style”, dedicated to individual seating furniture, without which today it would be hard to imagine various, individual or collective, public or private activities.

The author of the exhibition, Marija Bujuć, conceived, together with her collaborators, an attractive exhibition in which the exhibits greet and invite museum visitors, in an original way, to a journey through the centuries of presence of chair as the queen of interiors.

In their everyday activities, human beings experience numerous situations in which they sit: at homes, working places, streets, parks, in vehicles, waiting rooms, theaters, schools, public and private gatherings. The first association brought by the term „to sit” is chair, but also its neighbouring typological groups for individual (armchair, stool, tabouret…) or collective sitting (bench, canape, sofa, couch). The contemporary way of living offers innumerable possibilities for more or less comfortable sitting. We perform this activity without thinking about whether it has always been this way. Tens of thousands of years were needed to shape an object, which is used for one seemingly very simple activity.

In the exhibition and in the accompanying catalogue, only a part of the collection of seating furniture of the Department for Period Furniture and Wood of Museum of Applied Art is shown, with 63 catalogue items and 80 objects (chairs, recliners, armchairs and tabourets). The oldest object in the collection, the so called Dante Chair, dates from the 16th century, and the youngest from the first decade of the 20th, was designed by Dragutin Inkiostri Medenjak. At about the same time, in 1908, a chair by Hans Gunter Reinstein (1880–1938) was conceived, and it anticipated the development of seating furniture of the centuries to come. With the exception of two items, the collection is entirely of Central European and Western European provenance. The oldest featured exhibit comes from the century that marks the moment of accepance of the rights of all to have their own kinds of chairs, while the youngest one is the representative of the moment in which this right became an everyday reality.

In order to comprehend the overall evolution of chair and its varieties, the author of the exhibition Marija Bujić provided a concise historic development, in the text in the catalogue, from the ancient civilizations to the modern era, accentuating the important periods, countries, styles and individuals who influenced its construction and shaping. This overview affirms the fact that seating furniture represents very important typological group of furniture in general, in which were reflected, apart from stylistic characteristics, the phases of rise and fall of civilizations, states and historic personalities.

For those stylistic epochs that could not be illustrated with photographs from the Museum’s collections, drawings by Mrs Mirjana Vojnović, MA, were used in the catalogue, as convincing illustrations of the seating furniture of the past, and around one hundred of them feature as an accompanying exhibition of the main display.

With their avid professional knowledge, the specialist for the conservation of wood, Milan Andrić and the specialist for conservation of textile, Marija Labudović, helped objects regain their old glow, at least to an extent.

When passing a professional judgment about the stylistic-morphological value of the Collection of Individual Seating of the Department of Period Furniture and Wood of Museum of Applied Art, it is necessary to take into account the “youth” of the Museum and the historic circumstances in today’s Republic of Serbia, from antiquity to the contemporary era. The late economic development, which started only at the end of the 19th century, poor and uneducated citizens, and frequent warfare and destruction, resulted in the lack of commissioners that would inspire acquisition and production of luxury furniture. If we consider all the above mentioned facts objectively, we come to the conclusion that the Museum, during 66 years of its existence, and in spite of the disadvantageous circumstances, created a valuable and important collection of chairs and recliners that give a true image of the ambiance in which they had the function of utility.


Northern Italy, the end of the XVI – the beginning of the XVII centuries Late Renaissance Wood, walnut massive, carved, profiled 128 х 58 х 33 cm


Habsburg Monarchy, about 1780 Classicism, influenced by Sheraton Style Wood, beech wood massive, cherry veneer, carved, profiled, veneered; upholstered seat, textile cover 86 х 50 х 56 cm


Austrian Empire, about 1860 Neoclassicism Wood, walnut, fir and beech wood massive, stained, profiled, carved, turned, walnut veneer; upholstered seat, textile cover 95 х 45 х 46 cm

Chair, part of a set

The Kingdom of Serbia, Belgrade, 1907 Secession with the Balkan folklore elements Design: Dragutin Inkiostri Medenjak (1866-1942) Wood, walnut massive, carved, profiled; the seat and a part of the backrest upholstered, leather cover 92 х 45 х 47 cm


Northern Italy, XVI century Renaissance Wood, beech wood massive, carved, profiled; leather, pressed, gilding; metal mounts and decorative upholstery nails 90 х 74 х 55 cm


France, XVII century Baroque, Style Louis XIII Wood, walnut massive, profiled; upholstered seat and back, cover, tapestry, large stitch 115 х 63 х 64 cm

Armchair, part of a salon set

France, about 1730 Late Baroque, Style Regence Wood, walnut massive, carved; upholstered seat, back and armrests, gobelin cover, Aubusson workshop 108 x 72 x 63 cm

Semi Recliner

The Netherlands, middle of the XIX century Neo-Baroque, Queen Ann Style (Queen Ann, 1702/1714.) Wood, walnut massive, maple veneer, carved, profiled, intarsia; upholstered seat, textile cover 115 х 57 х 52 cm

Armchair, part of a salon set

Austrian Empire, middle of the XIX century Second Rococo Style Wood, fir massive, maple and lemon tree veneer, profiled, veneered, marquetry; upholstered seat, back and parts of armrests, new textile cover 106 х 67.82 cm


France, about 1860 Neoclassicism, copy in the Style of Louis XVI Wood, beech wood massive, carved, profiled, painted, gilded; upholstered seat, backrest and parts of armrests, textile cover 92 х 57 х 49 cm

Armchair, part of a salon furniture set

Austria-Hungary, about 1870 Second Empire, Napoleon III Style Wood, walnut massive, profiled, turned, painted; mother-of-pearl, brass, intarsia; seat, backrest and parts of armrests are upholstered, textile cover 101,5 х 51,5 х 61 cm

Rocking Armchair

Austria-Hungary, about 1900 Design: Gebruder Thonet Wood, beech wood massive, steamed, modeled; seat and back reed, wicker 120 х 62 х 104 cm

Armchair, part of a salon set

Austria-Hungary, Vienna, about 1900 Secession Wood, walnut massive, carved; upholstered seat and segments of back, textile cover 80 х 69 х 68 cm

Armchair, part of a set

Austria-Hungary, 1911-14. Design: Hans Gunter Reinstein, Germany, 1908 (Hans Gunter Reinstein, 1880-1938) Wood, beech wood massive, profiled, painted; papier mache; metal nails 76,5 х 53 х 50 cm