AESTHETIC CABINET WITH BRASS DETAILING
Herter Brothers (1865-1905)
New York, [signed] c. 1880
With its intricate “Mashrabya” turned fretwork, this piece – which is branded “Herter Bros” – is a rare example of their work in the Moorish taste. The unusual cabinet is the same form as one seen in an 1881 photograph of prominent New York City banker Simon Borg’s parlor, a period reference which establishes an approximate date for the present piece. Borg’s cabinet, however, lacked the Mashrabya fretwork found in the upper galleries of this example. It is interesting to note that furniture in the salon of the New York City home of George Kemp (which was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany [1848-1923] and was one of the first American rooms done in the Moorish taste) also included Mashrabya fretwork. It is possible that the detailing of those furnishings had some influence on this cabinet, whose Moorish arched sides resemble base detailing of the Kemp salon center table. Evidence that some of the furniture in the Kemp mansion was fabricated by Herter Brothers perhaps provides a rationale and clue to the repetition of these unusual forms and details.
Other rare characteristics of the present cabinet include its incorporation of brass colonettes and pierced drawer mounts, as well as the decorative brass fretwork dividing the beveled glass panes in its central doors. A simpler vitrine by Herter featuring brass astragals in its glass doors is in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum.
Mahogany with turned “mashrabya” fretwork and scalloped Moorish arches; brass columns, pierced escutcheons and inlay; as well as brass astragals in its dramatic beveled glass doors.
Margot Johnson, Inc., NY. Sold 1996 to a private collection to present.
Excellent. Completely original with original finish.
Howe, Katherine S., Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen and Catherine Hoover Voorsanger, et al, Herter Brothers: Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, 1994 (pl. 73 on p. 95 for a related cabinet). The pulls are similar to ones seen on a cabinet now at the Art Institute of Chicago. (See p. 192 as well as p. 224, no. 32.)
Branded “HERTER BROS.” on back. A similar cabinet (lacking the “mashrabya” turned fretwork in the side galleries) is visible in an 1881 period photograph of the Simon Borg residence, New York City. [Department of Drawings and Prints, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, #57.658.66.]
SIZE: 55 ¼” h x 74 ½” w x 17 ½” d
PRICE: On request.
CALL NUMBER: 573-I-C