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Object Timeline

1949

  • Work on this object began.

2008

  • We acquired this object.

2012

2019

  • You found it!

Usonian Stool, 1949

This is a Stool. It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It is dated 1949 and we acquired it in 2008. Its medium is wood, fabric. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.

This stool, from the Robert Winn house in Kalamazoo, Michigan, is a simple form that Frank Lloyd Wright designed for his Usonian dwellings. The term “Usonia” comes from Samuel Butler’s 1872 utopian novel Erewhon. Wright used the term to refer to the low cost, utilitarian housing and furnishings that were his efforts to promote a democratic and cooperative way of life. The aim of the Usonian home was to provide an inexpensive residence that would encourage an informal style of domestic life, reflected in the simple forms and components of the interiors and the furniture. Furthermore, the furniture was designed to be fabricated by local carpenters and craftsmen and was intended to be executed in inexpensive sheet-wood construction and simple upholstery, as seen in this example.
The museum has a small group of Wright objects, including a table and side chairs from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (designed ca. 1920) and examples of ceramics. The stool relates very closely to a Wright Usonian chair (1997-90-1) in the collection, designed around 1950, also said to have come from the Winn house; the chair’s frame is also of sheet-wood construction, but the base is a variation on the boxy form of the stool proposed of acquisition. This stool is a fine addition to the museum’s collection of works by Wright, complementing the Usonian chair and helping to broaden our picture of the later career of this important American architect and designer.

It is credited The Linda and Irwin R. Berman Stool Collection.

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  • Gift of George R. Kravis II.
  • 2018-22-64

Its dimensions are

Overall: 44 x 65.2 x 44.5 cm (17 5/16 x 25 11/16 x 17 1/2 in.)

Cite this object as

Usonian Stool, 1949; Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867–1959); USA; wood, fabric; Overall: 44 x 65.2 x 44.5 cm (17 5/16 x 25 11/16 x 17 1/2 in.); The Linda and Irwin R. Berman Stool Collection; 2008-32-2-a,b

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<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/18699327/ |title=Usonian Stool, 1949 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=25 May 2019 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>