Rudolph Robinson (American, 1937–1988)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts


Overall: 41.3 x 266.1 x 50.8 cm (16 1/4 x 104 3/4 x 20 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Richard B. Carter Gallery (Gallery 171)


Americas, Contemporary Art


Seating and beds

Laminated and carved construction, legs attached with multiple through tenons. Keel-shaped underside; keel merges with legs. Legs canted outward, pointed arch at bottom. Shallow shannel carved along keel and edges of legs. “V”-shaped area of chip carving on underside of each end. Profile of top flares at ends, bows out in middle. Oil finish.

The MFA commissioned this bench from the artist in 1982 as part of the museum’s innovative “Please Be Seated” program, in which works by contemporary studio furniture makers are acquired for the Museum’s permanent collection and also function as gallery seating. Robinson, a graduate of the Philadelphia Museum of Art School, built the bench from large planks of padouk, a rare and costly tropical wood, which is extremely dense and difficult to work. The keel-shaped forms under the seat are shaped with a chisel, producing a textured surface that is meant to be felt as well as seen.


Purchased from the artist, 1982
Through funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, Ethan Allen Inc., and The Robert Lehman Foundation

Credit Line

Purchased through funds donated by the National Endowment of the Arts, Ethan Allen Inc., and the Robert Lehman Foundation