Collections: Decorative Arts: Easy Chair (Butaca)

  • 1st Floor
    Arts of Africa, Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden
  • 2nd Floor
    Arts of Asia and the Islamic World
  • 3rd Floor
    Egyptian Art, European Paintings
  • 4th Floor
    Contemporary Art, Decorative Arts, Elizabeth A. Sackler Center for Feminist Art
  • 5th Floor
    Luce Center for American Art

Hiroshige's One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Hiroshige's 118 woodblock landscape and genre scenes of mid-nineteenth-century Tokyo, is one of the greatest achievements of Japanese art.

    On View: Letitia Wilson Jordan

    The subject here, Letitia Wilson Jordan, was the sister of Eakins’s friend and student David Wilson Jordan. Eakins had seen her at a p...


    Want to add this object to a set? Please join the Posse, or log in.


    Easy Chair (Butaca)

    Butacas, colonial low easy chairs derived from pre-Columbian seat forms (see illustration), were ideal for intimate domestic spaces. The elite eighteenth-century example here includes carved rocaille decoration—fanciful sinuous curves with origins in the irregular edges of shells and rock formations—and cabriole legs adorned with a dog’s head and a bird (possibly references to the owner’s pets or interest in animals). The later mahogany-and-cane Cuban butaca includes foreign elements such as wings and a top rail molding.

    The butaca type spread throughout the Caribbean and key ports along the Gulf of Mexico, particularly after Charles III signed the 1778 decree of free trade, which allowed Spanish American ports to trade directly with one another and with most ports in Spain.

    Las butacas, sillas coloniales bajas derivadas de los asientos precolombinos (ver ilustración), eran ideales para amoblar los espacios domésticos más íntimos. Este ejemplo de élite del siglo XVIII incluye una decoración tallada de rocallas—curvas caprichosas y sinuosas inspiradas en los bordes irregulares de las conchas y formaciones rocosas—y patas cabriolé adornadas, una con la cabeza de un perro y la otra con un pájaro (una posible referencia a los animales domésticos del propietario o a su interés en los mismos). La butaca cubana tardía de caoba y esterilla de mimbre incluye elementos ajenos al repertorio ornamental tradicional español, como las alas y la moldura superior.

    Este tipo de butaca se extendió a todas partes del Caribe y a los principales puertos en el Golfo de México, en particular luego de que Carlos III firmara en 1778 el decreto de libre comercio, que permitió a puertos de Hispanoamérica comerciar directamente entre ellos y con la mayoría de los puertos de España.

    • Medium: Mahogany, cane
    • Place Made: Cuba
    • Dates: second quarter of the 19th century
    • Dimensions: 43 x 35 3/4 x 35 3/8 in. (109.2 x 90.8 x 89.9 cm)  (show scale)
    • Markings: Unmarked
    • Collections:Decorative Arts
    • Museum Location: This item is on view in Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
    • Exhibitions:
    • Accession Number: 2011.58.1
    • Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. J. Fuller Feder, by exchange and Brooklyn Museum Collection
    • Rights Statement: Creative Commons-BY
    • Caption: Easy Chair (Butaca), second quarter of the 19th century. Mahogany, cane, 43 x 35 3/4 x 35 3/8 in. (109.2 x 90.8 x 89.9 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of Mrs. J. Fuller Feder, by exchange and Brooklyn Museum Collection, 2011.58.1. Creative Commons-BY
    • Image: overall, 2011.58.1_PS6.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2013
    • Catalogue Description: Mahogany and cane easy chair (Butaca) with curved, inverted 'U' shaped legs. Tall mahogany easy chair with continuous curved back and seat, curved and notched top crest rail, on each side at front upper corner of crest a mahogany and cane long ear- shaped wing. Slight incline to back curving down to a wide, ample seat with scalloped seat rail. At midpoint of back stiles on either side, a thick, horizontal armrest attached to seat base with an upright, short, turned support, legs consist of a continuous inverted 'U' shape on either side with a turned stretcher at rear and front. Old cane on side wings, new cane on main body.
    • Record Completeness: Best (83%)
    advanced 110,591 records currently online.

    Separate each tag with a space: painting portrait.

    Or join words together in one tag by using double quotes: "Brooklyn Museum."

    Please note, the Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. Please see our FAQ.

    Please review the comment guidelines before posting.

    Before you comment...

    We get a lot of comments, so before you post yours, check to see if your issue is addressed by one of the questions below. Click on a question to see our answer:

    Why are some objects not on view?

    The Museum’s permanent collections are very large and only a fraction of these can be on exhibition at any given time. Sometimes works are lent to other museums for special exhibitions; sometimes they are in the conservation laboratory for study or maintenance. Certain types of objects, such as watercolors, textiles, and photographs, are sensitive to light and begin to fade if they are exposed for too long, so their exhibition time is limited. Finally, as large as the Museum is, there is not enough room to display everything in the collections. In order to present our best works, collections are rotated periodically.

    How do I find out how much an object in the Brooklyn Museum collections is worth?

    The Museum does not disclose the monetary values of objects in its collections.

    Can you tell me the value of an artwork that I own?

    The Museum does not provide monetary appraisals. To determine the value of an object or to find an appraiser, you may contact the Art Dealers Association of America or the American Society of Appraisers.

    I own a similar object. Can you tell me more about it?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you own and as much information about it as you can, and we will provide any additional information we are able to find. Please note that research in our files is a lengthy process, and you may not have a response for some time.

    How would I go about lending or gifting a work to the Museum or seeing if the Museum is interested in purchasing a work that I own?

    Please submit via e-mail a photograph of the object you would like us to consider, as well as all of the information you have about it, and your offer will be forwarded to the appropriate curator. The Brooklyn Museum collections are very rich, and we have many works that are not currently on exhibition; because of this, and because storage space is limited, we are very selective about adding works. However, the collection has become what it is today through the generosity of the public, and we continue to be grateful for this generosity, which can still lead to exciting new acquisitions.

    How can I get a reproduction of a work in your collection?

    Please see the Museum’s information on Image Services.

    How can I show my work to someone at the Museum or be considered for an exhibition?

    Please see the Museum’s Artist Submission Guidelines.

    Why do many objects not have photographs and/or complete descriptions?

    The Museum's collection is very large, and we are constantly in the process of adding photographs and descriptions to works that do not currently have them, or replacing photographs that have deteriorated beyond use and descriptions that are minimal or out of date. This is a long and expensive process that takes time.

    How can I find a conservator or get advice on how to treat my artwork?

    Please visit the American Institute for Conservation, which has a feature on how to find a conservator.

    I have a comment or question which is not included in this list.

    Join the posse or log in to work with our collections. Your tags, comments and favorites will display with your attribution.