Clara Porset Butaque c. 1957

  • MoMA, Floor 3, 3 North The Philip Johnson Galleries

The term butaque refers to a low, curved chair with a wooden frame and seat traditionally made of animal skin; different versions can be found throughout Latin America. It first emerged in Venezuela in the sixteenth century and borrows elements from pre-Columbian chairs known as duhos as well as from the X-form folding chairs that Spanish colonizers brought to the Americas. Porset saw the butaque as a reflection of Mexico’s complex cultural identity. For her iconic design, she experimented with dimensions, materials, and ergonomic adjustments to adapt the chair to modern comfort and interiors.

Gallery label from Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940–1980, March 08, 2024 – September 22, 2024
Additional text

El término butaque se refiere a una silla baja y curva, con estructura de madera y asiento tradicionalmente hecho de cuero de animal; se pueden encontrar diferentes versiones en toda América Latina. Surgió por primera vez en Venezuela en el siglo XVI y toma prestados elementos de las sillas precolombinas conocidas como duhos, así como de las sillas plegables en forma de X que los colonizadores españoles trajeron a América. Porset veía el butaque como un reflejo de la compleja identidad cultural de México. Para su diseño icónico, experimentó con dimensiones, materiales y ajustes ergonómicos para adaptar la silla al confort y los interiores modernos.

Gallery label from Crafting Modernity: Design in Latin America, 1940–1980 (en español), March 08, 2024 – September 22, 2024
UNIQLO ArtSpeaks: Anna Burckhardt on Clara Porset’s Butaque Chair
Laminated wood and woven wicker
28 3/4 × 25 13/16 × 33 7/16" (73 × 65.6 × 84.9 cm)
Gift of The Modern Women's Fund
Object number
Architecture and Design

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