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Side Chair

Decorative Arts

On View: Special Exhibition Gallery, 4th Floor
These New York–made chairs are both indebted to the French Rococo style of the mid-eighteenth century, but one is traditionally made and the other incorporates inventive production processes. John Belter’s patented laminated, bent-plywood chair departs further from the eighteenth-century model than the hand-carved Bembé & Kimbel one, suggesting that new production techniques inspired Belter to greater originality and freedom in design. Belter’s chairs became highly fashionable and were made and purchased in great numbers. It seems that by the 1850s consumers were more ready to embrace innovation—particularly in the service of conservative revivalism—than they had been in the early nineteenth century.
ATTRIBUTED TO Bembe & Kimble
MEDIUM Rosewood, modern upholstery
  • Possible Place Made: New York, United States
  • DATES ca. 1855
    DIMENSIONS 35 15/16 x 19 1/8 x 21 7/8 in. (91.3 x 48.6 x 55.6 cm)  (show scale)
    COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
    MUSEUM LOCATION This item is on view in Special Exhibition Gallery, 4th Floor
    ACCESSION NUMBER 1992.42
    CREDIT LINE Alfred T. and Caroline S. Zoebisch Fund
    RIGHTS STATEMENT Creative Commons-BY
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    CAPTION Bembe & Kimble. Side Chair, ca. 1855. Rosewood, modern upholstery, 35 15/16 x 19 1/8 x 21 7/8 in. (91.3 x 48.6 x 55.6 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Alfred T. and Caroline S. Zoebisch Fund, 1992.42. Creative Commons-BY
    IMAGE front, 1992.42_front_PS2.jpg. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2007
    "CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
    CATALOGUE DESCRIPTION Side Chair, rosewood, modern upholstery. Trapezoidal seat with outward curved sides and front, raised on cabriole legs with elaborately carved scroll and leaf motif with centered cartouche and rose at top of each leg. Balloon shaped back with elaborate asymmetrical pierced scrollwork to crest and back of both stiles. Asymmetrical cross support to back pierced, with floral carvings at either side at join to back stiles. Rear legs splayed with square profile, undecorated. Back of chair undecorated. Deep tufted seat with modern gold and dark red stripe floral damask. CONDITION - Overall very good condition. Structurally stable. Surface with later revarnishing. Top pierced crest broken off at point of old break, but retained. See conservation report 7/28/94.
    RECORD COMPLETENESS Best (87%)
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