Norman Cherner was a pioneer both in molded plywood and prefab housing. He studied and taught at the Columbia University Fine Arts Department and was an instructor at the Museum of Modern Art in New York from 1947 to 1949. Here he explored the Bauhaus movement, embarking on a lifetime exploration of multidisciplinary design, from furniture, shelving, glassware, lighting and even toys to his pioneering work in low-cost prefabricated housing.
Cherner is best known for the molded plywood seating line he created for Plycraft, a manufacturing company in Lawrence, Massachusetts. After telling Cherner that his design for what is now known as the Cherner Chair (1958) had been scrapped, Plycraft’s owner continued to produce it, claiming himself as the designer. Soon after, the chair’s popularity was heightened when it appeared in Norman Rockwell’s 1961 painting “The Artist at Work” on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Cherner sued the company, and Plycraft agreed to pay Cherner royalties, yet the whole seating line was out of production by the early 1970s.
For almost 20 years, Cherner’s seating was rarely seen outside of galleries, museums and the living rooms of few lucky collectors. In 1999, Cherner’s sons Benjamin and Thomas formed the Cherner Chair Company to revive the designs and produce them as their father originally intended.
Used as a statement piece, or in a grouping, it is beautiful in any setting!