"Chairs that are really well designed," John W. Keefe, curator of European Decorative Arts at the Art Institute of Chicago, said, "are sculpture at its best."

He cited chairs designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Harry Bertoia and Ludwig van der Rohe in his survey of designed chairs presented to the Illinois Chapter of the National Home Fashions League here recently.

Wright's cantilevered designs, which were made for the interiors of his prairie houses, are supreme examples of sculpture, and from Wright's chairs the influence spread to others, said Keefe.

Many of the chairs were on loan to the American Mart for the recent home furnishings market from the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wis.

Included were the wishbone dining chair of Arthur Espanel Carpenter; the dining chair by Sam Maloof; Peter Wright's cantilevered chair; the strung chair by Daisy Schnepel; and the forest chair designed by Kate Milner-Wright.

Keefe explained the influence of the Scandinavian chairmakers in the 1930s and 1940s due to the appeal of their natural woods - still important in contemporary design.

The 1952 shell of the Eames chair he termed "another classic" and went on to highlight the Eero Saarinen upholstered shell and the wire mesh shell of Harry Bertoia, created in 1953.

The Saarinen tulip chair, still popular since its 1958 introduction, and the Brown Jordan seating designed by Tamiami in 1977 also were examples of sculptured supremecy.