Center Table Maker: Herter Brothers (American, 1864–1906)

ca. 1878

American Decorative Arts

On view, 1st floor, American Decorative Arts before 1900

The New York decorating firm Herter Brothers produced some of the most sumptuous furniture and interiors of the Gilded Age. This center table is a superlative example of the Japanese-inspired furniture the firm introduced in the mid-1870s. Christian Herter spent time in Britain and was knowledgeable about the design reform movement, which privileged forthright forms and stylized, linear decoration derived from historical or natural sources. On this table, the flat planes, turned spindles, incised details on the legs and stretcher, and abstracted leaves and flowers reflect design-reform sensibilities. Christian also had an extensive collection of Asian art and may well have appropriated design motifs from objects or prints in his possession. Here, the chrysanthemums, butterflies, and birds, and even the palette of black and gold, reference Japanese lacquerware and textiles. Although the original owner of the table is now unknown, the profusion of inlaid and carved details indicates that it was a custom order intended for what must have been an equally lavish setting.


Rosewood, mahogany, rosewood veneer, lightwood and tropical wood inlay, gilt bronze, steel, and rubber


29 1/2 × 47 3/4 × 29 3/4 in. (74.93 × 121.29 × 75.57 cm)

Credit Line

Leonard C. Hanna, Jr., Class of 1913, Fund; Mr. and Mrs. Frank J. Coyle, LL.B. 1943, Fund; Peter B. Cooper, B.A. 1960, LL.B. 1964, M.U.S. 1965, and Field C. McIntyre American Decorative Arts Fund; and Lisa Koenigsberg, M.A. 1981, M.Phil. 1984, Ph.D. 1987, and David Becker, B.A. 1979, Fund; and Friends of American Arts Acquisition Fund

Accession Number



19th century


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 records is ongoing.



Possibly purchased on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the 1960s; sold through Christie's, private sale, New York, to Margaret B. Caldwell, New York; sold to Ryan Brant, New York; sold to David Petrovsky, Hudson, New York, 2009; sold to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, 2012
  • American Art: Selections from the Yale University Art Gallery (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2023), 162–63, no. 71, ill.
  • "Acquisitions," (accessed December 21, 2012).
Object copyright
Additional information

Object/Work type

center tables


“HERTER BRO’S” branded on the underside of the drawer casing.

Technical metadata and APIs


Open in Mirador

View IIIF manifest

The International Image Interoperability Framework, or IIIF, is an open standard for delivering high-quality, attributed digital objects online at scale. Visit to learn more

Linked Art

API response for this object

Linked Art is a Community working together to create a shared Model based on Linked Open Data to describe Art.