American Decorative Arts
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Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
PrevNext2 of 2
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Maker, attributed to: Wenzel Friedrich, American, born Bohemia, 1827–1902

Fancy Chair No. 7

after 1885

Cow horns, brass, glass, and ocelot skin

37 × 32 1/2 × 23 in. (93.98 × 82.55 × 58.42 cm)
Gift of William J. Hill
Popularized in Germany in the 1830s, horn furniture was exhibited at the Great Exhibition of 1851 at the Crystal Palace in London and then in America at an exposition in Chicago in 1876. It became popular for its link to the natural world and for the eclecticism it added to any interior. By the late nineteenth century, it was being produced in large numbers in the Midwest using horns from the longhorn cattle that had ended up in slaughterhouses in Chicago and Kansas. Bohemian-born Wenzel Friedrich introduced horn furniture to San Antonio, producing a wide range of furniture and decorative arts made from Texas longhorn cattle. By 1889 he had published an illustrated catalogue of his offerings, including the Fancy Chair No. 7. The near extinction of the Texas longhorn around the turn of the twentieth century put an end to most horn-furniture production. The seat on this Fancy Chair is upholstered with ocelot fur. The ocelot, a species indigenous to the Americas, has also faced severe population decline in the United States.
Made in San Antonio, Texas
On view
19th century

Gift of William J. HIll to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn., in 2012

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.