American Decorative Arts
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
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Maker: Arthur Espenet Carpenter, American, 1920–2006

Wishbone Chair


Walnut and leather

31 × 21 1/4 × 21 1/2 in. (78.7 × 54 × 54.6 cm)
Yale University Art Gallery
This chair by Art Carpenter is richly evocative of the revival of crafts in the United States following World War II and represents the idea of the self-taught furniture maker. Other related objects in the collection are the chair by George Nakashima and the print table by Sam Maloof.
Made in Bolinas, California
20th century

This is one of a pair of chairs that turned up at the Western States Antiques Fair in Manhattan Beach, California, on 31 July 1999. The dealers offering the chairs said that they purchased the chairs from a neighbor of theirs, Reed Arnaud, who was moving into a retirement home. Arnaud, a painter who is in his late eighties, had purchased the chairs from Art Carpenter. The second chair was purchased by doctoral candidate Glenn Adamson.


Edward S. Cooke, Jr., Gerald W. R. Ward, and Kelly H. L’Ecuyer, The Maker’s Hand: American Studio Furniture, 1940–1990, exh. cat. (Boston, Massachusetts: MFA Publications, 2003), 45, no. 16.

“Acquisitions, 1999,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (2000): 161.

Jeannine Falino, Jennifer Scanlan, and Glenn Adamson, Crafting Modernism: Midcentury American Art and Design, exh. cat. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2011), 228, fig. 11.3.

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.