"Golden Banana" Valet Chair Maker: Alphonse Mattia (American, 1947–2023)


American Decorative Arts

On view, 3rd floor, Modern and Contemporary Art and Design

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.


Walnut, birch, soft maple, and plywood


75 3/8 × 18 1/4 × 17 5/8 in. (191.5 × 46.3 × 44.8 cm)

Credit Line

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

Accession Number



20th century


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 records is ongoing.

  • American Art: Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2023), 278–79, no. 141, ill
  • Bess Liebenson, "How a Seat Can Be More Than a Place to Sit," New York Times (May 30, 1999), 17, ill
  • "Acquisitions 1988," Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (Spring 1989), 109, ill
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

chairs, utilitarian objects


"Alphonse Mattia/ Westport MA/ 1988" carved into back side of front rail

Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

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