The Empire Occasional Chair chair is inspired by and named after the American Empire style of furniture (also called Federal). This specific style, and the original chair artifact, is French-inspired Neoclassical and takes its name and origin from the Empire style introduced during the First French Empire period under Napoleon's rule (1804-1814).
A simplified version of American Empire upholstered furniture, often referred to as Grecian, features plain surfaces on curvaceous forms and figured Mahogany veneers. These iconic design statements are reminiscent in the profile of this chair. With a modern day interpretation of volute arms and saber legs, a tight seat and shapely tight back, the Empire Occasional Pull-Up Chair offers an understated elegance in a contemporary silhouette.
The original Empire Chair came to the New Mexico History Museum from the estate of the late Santa Fe sculptor Eugenie Shonnard. Shonnard was a well travelled, adventurous woman born and raised in New York and trained in Europe by the famous Parisian sculptor, August Rodin.