Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens
October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013
The meteoric rise of the workshop of Abraham Roentgen (1711–1793) and his son David (1743–1807) blazed across eighteenth-century continental Europe. This landmark exhibition will be the first comprehensive survey of the cabinetmaking firm from around 1742 to its closing in the early 1800s. Its innovative designs were combined with intriguing mechanical devices to revolutionize traditional French and English furniture types. From its base in Germany the workshop employed novel marketing and production techniques to serve an international clientele. Some sixty to sixty-five pieces of furniture and clocks—several of which have never before been lent for exhibition—will be complemented by paintings and prints that depict these unrivaled masterpieces in contemporary interiors. The most complicated mechanical devices will be illustrated through virtual animations. Working drawings, portraits of the cabinetmakers, their family, and important patrons, as well as a series of documents owned by the Metropolitan Museum and originating from the Roentgen estate, will underline the long-overlooked significance and legacy of the Roentgens as Europe's principal cabinetmakers of the ancien régime.