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American Decorative Arts
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Maker: Herter Brothers, American, 1864–1906

Center Table

ca. 1878

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)
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
2012.41.1
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.
Geography: 
Made in New York, New York
Status: 
On view
Culture: 
American
Period: 
19th century
Classification: 
Furniture
Provenance: 

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

Bibliography: 

“Acquisitions,” https://artgallery.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Pub_Bull_acquisitions_2012.pdf (accessed December 21, 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.