May 23, 2011

Regal chairs of early America on display at Evergreen Museum

Though 18th-century Americans rebelled against the idea of a monarchy for the new country, they often borrowed from royal design vocabularies to create chairs for local, regional and national leaders.

The American Throne: Royal Seating for a Democratic Venue, an exhibit opening this week at Evergreen Museum & Library, explores the ongoing redefinition of monarchical forms for democratic and everyday seating, and how democratic ideals have transformed chairs devised for the common man into thrones of power.

Included are examples of pre–Civil War chairs, ancient Rome–inspired chairs designed for the U.S. Capitol by architect Thomas U. Walter and one of President John F. Kennedy’s White House rocking chairs, now an icon of American leadership.

The American Throne opened on Sunday with an afternoon reception. During its run through Sept. 25, the exhibition is free with museum admission or $3 for the exhibition only.