Michael Thonet – Rocking Chair (ca. 1860)
Michael Thonet (1796-1871) has gone down in history as one of the most important woodworking masters. His work entailed a transition from manual furniture production to industrial production, which started in 1859 with the No.14 chair.
Thonet was born in Germany, where he investigated and discovered how to bend wood using steam. The bentwood and the tubular steel furniture are the two constant product lines in his work. Undoubtedly, the bentwood technique has been a fundamental influence on the furniture industry.
The curved lines of the rocking chair are a reflection of the dynamism of this piece and the leather seat evinces its comfortability. Fluid lines of wood and sinuous holes are capable of transforming an ordinary chair into a whole new image of resting. Even though nowadays rocking chairs convey a feeling of relaxing, comfort and ease, in their beginning they were seen as something vulgar and tacky. It would not be until Thonet created his rocking chair that they turned into true pieces of art.
Author: Pelayo Rubio Rodríguez
Photo: Brooklyn Museum: https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/94974