WM. H. Vanderbilt Gilded Sidechair
Herter Brothers c. 1881-1882
The most distinctive piece from the most flamboyant room in Herter Brothers’ most important commission, this chair is perhaps one of the most significant pieces of furniture made in America in the second half of the Nineteenth Century.
Although two other similar chairs from this room survive, one in the collection of the High Museum, the other now at the Carnegie Institute, neither of those retain their original upholstery construction, and both have been regilded. The present example has been painstakingly analyzed by preeminent museum specialists, and copies of their conservation reports are available for review.
A fascinating foreshadowing of later aesthetic developments of the Art Nouveau, this chair’s novel and quite inventive design epitomizes Herter Brothers – America’s premiere 19th Century cabinetmakers –at their most creative moment.