Design history - development of the modern chair

I’m currently studying abroad in Munich, Germany and I’m lucky enough to be taking a class on the History of the Designed Object. For this class we must present one object from the Pinakothek der Moderne’s collection. I’ve chosen a chair by Frank Lloyd Wright (

more important background:
I have to speak about this object for roughly one hour. I’m expected to know the history of the chair up until 1903 (when this specific chair was constructed) and it’s influences on later furniture design. The catch is, I’m an art history student and I’ve never studied anything beyond the Renaissance with any depth. I need to quickly (in about a 1.5 months) educate myself about the history of the chair in the US and western europe…and be familiar with the wider design trends around the turn of the century.

Do you have any suggestions on where to start in terms of books and websites? Beyond Frank LLoyd Wright books, what books on the development of the chair would you suggest? I prefer to buy these books when I go home for christmas break because I need to find books in English (I can read in german, but it’s a struggle).

I’m willing to invest in a good design book or two.

I would be so grateful for any suggestions you could offer !

again, thanks.

Monica Zeckel

For starters- The Chair: Rethinking Culture… by Galen Cranz

thank you for the recommendation. judging on the reviews, this looks exactly like the kind of resource I was hoping to find.

I’m also looking at Furniture by Judith Miller (

any opinions?

I know that most of Frank Lloyd Wright furniture was designed for a specific building. I know this chair comes from the Larkin building. This means that I have to consider more then just the development of the chair.

Does anyone know any good resources for understanding the general design trends around turn of the century so that I can better contextualize my report (more then just architecture…other product design as well)?

again, thank you all so much. I really appreciate the time it takes to respond to these lengthy posts.