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Nineteenth-Century America: Furniture and Other Decorative Arts

Nineteenth-Century America: Furniture and Other Decorative Arts

Tracy, Berry B., Marilynn Johnson, Marvin D. Schwartz, and Suzanne Boorsch
1970
272 pages
296 illustrations
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As the central feature of its year-long Centennial the Metropolitan Museum has mounted a spectacular exhibition of American decorative arts of the nineteenth century. Federal, Empire, Gothic, Rococo, Renaissance, Art Nouveau, Reform—the century's principal styles succeed one another in a series of lavish room settings and galleries that display the 300 prime pieces illustrated and discussed in this book. More than 200 of these objects, including furniture, silver, glass, ceramics, and metalwork, are treasures of the Museum's American Wing, some of them accessioned during the Museum's early years, a substantial number acquired only recently and never shown before. The rest of the material has been lent to the exhibition from other museums, institutions, and private collections. A show of this magnitude dealing entirely with American works of the nineteenth century is without precedent. The historical line begins with the cabinetry of New England (a superb chest of drawers of about 1796 from Salem, Massachusetts), proceeds through the sedate European-influenced styles of the Empire, takes into account the medley of revivals in the decades before the Civil War, sets forth the splendid eighties, when decorative arts became an expression of American success and optimism, and ends with the elegant simplicity of furniture by the architect brothers Charles and Henry Greene. Among the outstanding furniture makers represented are Duncan Phyfe (with an entire parlor suite), Charles-Honoré Lannuier (with a bed as elaborately ornamented as any made in America), Joseph Meeks and Sons, and the Rococo master John Henry Belter. Other craftsmen and manufacturers include the silversmiths Chaudron and Rasch, Fletcher and Gardiner, Gorham Manufacturing Company, Tiffany and Company, the Boston and Sandwich and New England Glass companies, the Tucker Porcelain Company, and the great decorating firms of LePrince and Marcotte, Herter Brothers, and Louis Tiffany's Associated Artists. Berry B. Tracy, Curator of the American Wing and organizer of the exhibition, has justly called it a "hundred-year chronology of the best of American taste." This description can equally well be applied to the present volume, one of two devoted to the exhibition. Its more than 300 illustrations (sixty-six in color), its comprehensive historical introduction (by Mr. Tracy), its authoritative discussion of the pieces (by Marilynn Johnson, Marvin D. Schwartz, and Suzanne Boorsch), and its extensive bibliography of the pieces themselves and the craftsmen who produced them make it an important addition to a still little-documented field.

Met Art in Publication

Desk and Bookcase, John Davey  American, Mahogany, satinwood veneer with white pine,<br/>yellow poplar, American
1805–10
Pair of side chairs, Painted maple with white pine, American
American
1795–1800
Candlestick, Isaac Hutton  American, Silver, American
1800–1815
Candlestick, Isaac Hutton  American, Silver, American
1800–1815
Sideboard Table, Thomas Seymour  American, Primary: mahogany,mahogany and curly maple veneers, birch, holly (arch inlay) Causurina (she-oak) all light wood veneers and inlay, Sabicu (side veneer): secondary: soft maple (sides and sub-top), white pine (tops to end sections, backboard, drawer bottoms) cherry (drawer sides and back)., American
1805–10
Side Chair, Thomas Seymour  American, Mahogany, birch veneer, birch, tulip poplar, American
1805–10
Desk and Bookcase, Mahogany, satinwood, maple, verre églomisé<br/>with cedar, American
American
ca. 1811
Armchair, Duncan Phyfe  American, born Scotland, Primary: mahogany; Secondary: cherry (medial braces), ash or oak (stubb tenon feet)., American
1791–1818
Pier table, Mahogany, marble, gilded brass with white pine, American
American
1810–20
Cheval Glass, Mahogany, mahogany veneer, brass, American
American
ca. 1815
Side Chair, Mahogany with ash, yellow poplar, American
American
1810–20
Presentation Sword and Scabbard of Brigadier General Daniel Davis (1777–1814) of the New York Militia, John Targee  American, Steel, gold, silver, American, New York
ca. 1815–17
Sauceboat, Anthony Rasch  American, Silver, American
ca. 1815
Punch Pot, Simon Chaudron  American, Silver, American
1805–10
Pier table, Charles-Honoré Lannuier  American, Rosewood, mahogany, marble, pine, tulip poplar, walnut, American
1815–19
Card Table, Charles-Honoré Lannuier  American, Bird's-eye maple, rosewood, satinwood, mahogany, brass; secondary wood: pine, American
1810–19
Sofa, Mahogany, ash, maple, pine, American
American
ca. 1820
Side Chair, John Finlay, Maple, painted and gilded, cane, American
1815–20
Candlestick, Blown glass, American
American
1830–55
Coffeepot, Earthenware; Redware, American
American
ca. 1800–25
Showing 20 of 209

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Johnson, Marilynn, Marvin D. Schwartz, and Suzanne Boorsch. 1970. 19th-Century America: Furniture and Other Decorative Arts an Exhibition in Celebration of the Hundredth Anniversary of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, April 16 through September 7, 1970. New York: Distributed by New York Graphic Society.