John Henry Belter American
or J. H. Belter & Co.

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 736

German émigré John Henry Belter—one of the most prolific and influential cabinetmakers of the 1850s—introduced technical innovations that revolutionized furniture making. His patented technique of plywood lamination, a process that used steam and pressure to bend and compress up to twenty-one layers of wood, dramatically increased the strength and flexibility of the material, allowing for extravagantly high, undulated forms. This bold sofa, with its sinuous curves and virtuosic carving and piercing, is an extraordinary example. It is a model of the French-inspired Rococo Revival style, which was favored for fashionable parlors throughout the United States.

Sofa, John Henry Belter (American, born Germany 1804-1863 New York), Rosewood, Rosewood veneer; chestnut, pine (secondary woods); modern upholstery with some original underupholstery, American

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