Herter Brothers Aesthetic Movement Rosewood, Marquetry and Parcel-Gilt Inlaid Center Table
New York, last quarter 19th century
The rectangular top with molded edge and rounded corners, centering floral marquetry above two floral inlaid frieze drawers, on turned and incised carved legs connected by an H-form stretcher, on paw feet and casters. Stamped HERTER BROS underside the top. Height 29 1/2 inches, width 49 inches, depth 31 inches.
Descended in the family of an early owner.
A similar table is depicted in Howe, Katherine S, et. al, Herter Brothers: Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age, New York: Harry N. Abramson, 1994, pp. 172-173. This similar table is in the collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art, believed to come from Colonel James Elverson's home in Philadelphia.
The Herter Brothers became one of the most popular furnishing and interior design firms in the later half of the 19th century. Their distinct designs placed them at the forefront of high style furniture in America. Their designs included patterns on every surface and high attention to detail. Some surfaces were finished black paint to give the appearance for ebony wood. Gustave Herter was known for fine carving, such as the low-relief foliate passages in the legs on this example and the similar example in the collection of The Cleveland Museum of Art. In the 1870s, the Herter Brothers incorporated incised lines, reeding, gilding and turned elements, all of which are also seen in our table.
The firm was also known for fine marquetry. The marquetry bordering the table top of our example is also seen on Figure 96, Appendix 1, p. 218 in Herter Brothers: Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age. One trademark of the brothers' style was unmatching marquetry, such as the flattened stylized flowers on the apron and stretcher compared to the ornate three-dimensional design on the table top. The firm was known for importing complicated marquetry panels from France, a trend which dated back to the 1820s for American cabinetmakers. The imported table tops with natural subjects including flowers in the French style began to go out of fashion in the 1870s.
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