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American Decorative Arts
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Maker: Alphonse Mattia, American, born 1947

“Golden Banana” Valet Chair


Walnut, birch, soft maple, and plywood

75 3/8 × 18 1/4 × 17 5/8 in. (191.5 × 46.3 × 44.8 cm)
Please Be Seated Collection, funded by Julian H. Fisher, B.A. 1969, in memory of Wilbur J. Fisher, B.A. 1926, and Janet H. Fisher
This chair is part of a group of similar forms inspired by valets of the Danish designer Hans Wegner. In each valet, Alphonse Mattia preserved the basic form, including hanging supports for clothes and low seats for tying shoes, yet he used paint and carving to give each piece a distinct and comical identity. The artist makes a humorous statement about exoticism in this chair by placing tropical fruit above a tiger-skin seat.
Made in Westport, Massachusetts
By appointment
20th century

“Acquisitions 1988,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (Spring 1989): 109, ill.

Peter Hawes, A Great Panorama Celebrating Twenty-five Years of American Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1998), 32, ill.

Bess Liebenson, “How a Seat Can Be More Than a Place to Sit,” New York Times (May 30, 1999), 17, ill.

Kari M. Main, Please Be Seated: Contemporary Studio Seating Furniture (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1999), 12–13, no. 4, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.