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Correalist Rocker

Decorative Arts and Design

On View: Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
In 1942, the collector Peggy Guggenheim commissioned Frederick Kiesler, a Viennese architect, artist, and designer, to remodel two shops on West 57th Street in Manhattan for her now-legendary gallery Art of This Century. Guggenheim envisioned a space that would be as avant-garde as the art she would show, and Kiesler responded with a series of four distinctive spaces where paintings were suspended in midair or on adjustable arms mounted on curving walls, while other works were seen through a peephole while turning a large wooden spiral.

Kiesler also designed a collection of multifunctional furniture for the gallery, including the Correalist Rocker on display here. Playing on the name and shifting forms of Surrealism, the avant-garde twentieth-century art and literary movement, the Correalist Rocker could be used as a chair or, when oriented differently, as an easel for paintings, a pedestal for sculpture, a bench, or a table (see image). The design demonstrated Kiesler’s belief in the integral relationship between an object and its environment whereby “sculpture, painting, architecture should not be used as wedges to split our experience of art and life; they are here to link, to correlate, to bind dream and reality.”
MEDIUM Plywood, linoleum
  • Place Manufactured: New York, New York, United States
  • DATES ca. 1942
    DIMENSIONS 29 1/8 x 30 1/2 x 15 5/8 in. (74.0 x 77.5 x 39.7 cm)  (show scale)
    MARKINGS no marks
    SIGNATURE no signature
    INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
    CREDIT LINE Gift of Ruth Abrams
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Rocking chair, plywood upholstered in dark blue linoleum. Free form, general J-shaped plywood rocking chair with dark blue linoleum upholstery. Flat, parallel sides made of three pieces of plywood, beveled along edges where boards meet. Contoured seat, back and underside consist of wood joined to side edges and wrapped around entire shape; covered by a continuous linoleum strip all around chair; seamed at front below seat. Four securing screws on each side. Three circular holes, each with a notch on left side. CONDITION: Both sides badly nicked along edges. Scratches and punch marks on both sides. Split across top board and in middle and bottom board on right side. Paint drops on left side. Linoleum coming loose particularly at seam at front of chair where corner is torn off. Linoleum scratched throughout. Hole in linoleum at back of chair near bottom. (See conservation memo 11/21/91).
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Decorative Art, 20th-Century Decorative Arts, 4th Floor
    CAPTION Frederick J Kiesler (Czernowitz, Austro–Hungarian Empire (present–day Ukraine), 1890–1965, New York, New York). Correalist Rocker, ca. 1942. Plywood, linoleum, 29 1/8 x 30 1/2 x 15 5/8 in. (74.0 x 77.5 x 39.7 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Ruth Abrams, 76.169. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 76.169_bw.jpg)
    IMAGE overall, 76.169_bw.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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