Fans of mid-century furniture will immediately recognize this Klismos chair designed by T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbings as an icon of modern design and an homage to ancient Greece. According to the Metropolitan Museum of Art:
“Robsjohn-Gibbings’s design derives from the ancient klismos chair, introduced in Greece during the fifth century. The klismos is elegant and light. The curved, tapered legs slope forward and rearward, offering stability. The rear legs sweep continuously upward to support a wide concave backrest like a curved tablet, which supports the sitter’s shoulders and may be low enough to lean an elbow on.”
Since Robsjohn-Gibbings designed this iconic chair (and his chaise lounge version dubbed the “Klini Couch”), there have been dozens of Klismos interpretations made by everyone from Baker Furniture to Restoration Hardware. Do a simple Google search for “Klismos Chair for sale” and you’ll find a plethora of styles and price-point options available to purchase from Frontgate to 1stdibs.com.
We were giddy when we spied a pair of tessellated horn, malachite, and brass Klismos chairs coming up for auction. While misattributed on the auction listing as “Italian Neo-Classical” we could tell from the photos that these Klismos chairs were probably produced in the 1980’s by Maitland-Smith. We were stunned that the auction estimate was only $200-$500 for the pair as Maitland-Smith items are collectible and demanding higher prices. Indeed, a Maitland-Smith trinket box from the same period (and using the same materials) is currently selling on 1stdibs.com for over $1,400! With bated breath we began bidding and were completely awed when we won the auction at $300. For a pair of chairs! How do you spell “S.T.E.A.L?”
Well our Maitland-Smith Klismos chairs arrived yesterday and they’re GORGEOUS! They’re currently living in our foyer. We love the pop-of-color the malachite gives our black and white space. However, we need to reupholster the seats. So stay tuned for fabric options and final pictures….