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Decorative Arts and Design

Trained in Germany as a cabinetmaker, Daniel Pabst arrived in Philadelphia in 1849. There, he earned a reputation for carved Renaissance Revival furniture, characterized by classical motifs such as columns, capitals, and carved animal heads.

In the mid-1870s his style changed under the influence of English reform designers such as Christopher Dresser, who lectured in Philadelphia during the Centennial Exhibition in 1876. Pabst’s new work in the reform-minded, rectilinear Modern Gothic style incorporated abstracted interpretations of nature, as in the floral medallion on the lower part of this cabinet. The crisp silhouette of the piece reflects the new taste for precision that accompanied the greater use of the machine in the furniture industry.
MEDIUM Walnut and burl ash, painted glass
DATES ca. 1875
DIMENSIONS 57 1/2 x 33 x 17in. (146.1 x 83.8 x 43.2cm)  (show scale)
MARKINGS no marks
SIGNATURE no signature
INSCRIPTIONS no inscriptions
CREDIT LINE Bequest of Marie Bernice Bitzer, by exchange
CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Cabinet, walnut and burl ash. Overall rectangular form with canted front and side top edge. Immediately below is continuous burl ash frieze against a stippled darker ground with centered florette on front. Central door in three panels; below large square conventionalized floral design of burl ash cut back to reveal darker stippled ground; above pair of diamond-shape polychrome painted conventionalized floral panels in white, green, blue, red and black on gold ground beneath diagonal striated clear glass, with conventionalized half-florettes cut back to reveal darker stippled ground in each corner around glass insets. Below central door, narrow drawer with two carved octagonal pulls with florettes and carved conventionalized burl ash leaf frieze on drawer front. Projecting side stiles: large three-toed claw feet support turned columns with ebonized shafts and composite conventionalized capitals support squared members with deeply carved rosette and above vertical burl ash band of conventionalized leaves topped by a conventionalized tulip below frieze at top. Brass escutcheon keyhole. CONDITION - Very good original condition. Before purchase cleaned and lightly polished by Vilmos Gruenbuam, 1401, Brooklyn, New York.
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
CAPTION Daniel Pabst (American, born Germany, 1826–1910). Cabinet, ca. 1875. Walnut and burl ash, painted glass, 57 1/2 x 33 x 17in. (146.1 x 83.8 x 43.2cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Marie Bernice Bitzer, by exchange, 1990.9. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.1990.9_detail.jpg)
IMAGE component, documentation, CUR.1990.9_detail.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2010
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