11029

AN UNUSUAL PAIR OF CARVED BIRDS EYE MAPLE AESTHETIC PERIOD ARMCHAIRS

Probably New York. Circa 1870.

Measurements

Height: 33 1/2" (85 cm); Depth: 32" (81.3 cm); Width: 26" (66 cm);

Research
Of solid birds eye maple. Gilt brass mounts parcel gilding. The incurved rectangular back rests upon an apron whose sides are carved with incised Greek key and arabesque motifs and surmounted by carved stylized acroteria. Detachable foliate roundels conceal steel fixing bolts. The armrests are raised on acanthine gilt brass mounted incurving supports. The whole raised on carved and fluted toupie form legs. Several roundels are old replacements. Castors replaced.

Marks:
Hand painted number on one leg:
1991.943

This unusual pair of armchairs is an example of Aesthetic movement design of the 1870s and 1880s, which “emphasized art in the production of furniture, metalwork, ceramics, stained glass, textiles, wallpapers, and books.”1 Common characteristics in Aesthetic furnishings during this period were exotic ornament, motifs featuring elements found in nature, and decorative inlays and gilt highlights. At this time New York “was considered the style center of America,”2 and one firm who enjoyed great success in this genre was Pottier & Stymus.

Auguste Pottier (1823-1896) was born in Coulommiers, France and by the age of 14 was an apprentice to a Parisian wood sculptor. In 1847 he traveled to New York City and was working for E.H Hutchings & Sons as a journeyman sculptor by 1850. Here he met Gustave Herter who shortly after would become his first business partner when they opened Herter, Pottier & Company in 1851. Although no examples of the collaboration with Herter are known, a trade card for the firm depicts rococo revival furniture. By the late 1850s Pottier had moved on to another New York firm, Rochefort and Skarren, where he served as a general foreman. It was here that he met William Stymus, who was working as a foreman in the upholstery room. Stymus (b. 1830) was born in New York City and had entered Rochefort and Skarren at the young age of sixteen.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.