The First Art Newspaper on the Net Established in 1996 United States Saturday, September 20, 2014


Innovative Furniture by American Designer Charles Rohlfs Displayed at Metropolitan Museum
Charles Rohlfs (American, 1853–1936), Rocking Chair, ca. 1899. Oak, leather, and metal tacks; 32 1/2 x 24 3/4 x 33 inches. The Huntington Library, Art Galleries, Promised Gift of American Decorative Art 1900 Foundation in honor of Joseph Cunningham. Photo © V&A Publications.
NEW YORK, NY.- Praised by the international press and exhibited throughout the United States and Europe at the turn of the 20th century, the American furniture designer Charles Rohlfs (1853–1936) created innovative works that combined elements of Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, and proto-modernism in surprising and original ways. In a meteoric career that barely spanned one decade, he designed only a few hundred works—many of them for his own home. While Rohlfs's forms were too eccentric for the commercial market of his time, he achieved recognition as a unique voice and seminal force in the history of American art furniture.

Opening October 19 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art—the final stop in a five-city tour—the exhibition The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs examines the designer's singular style through 50 examples of furniture and related objects. Many of the works descended in his family; others are on loan from museums and private collections. The presentation at the Metropolitan will include several unusual works from private collections in the New York area that have not been displayed previously. Rare printed advertising cards and pamphlets for Rohlfs's work—all from the collection of the Metropolitan—will also be shown.

The exhibition explores Rohlfs's life and career, including the activities of his wife, the artist and successful mystery novelist Anna Katharine Green; the far-ranging sources of his idiosyncratic motifs; his commissioned interiors; his efforts at self-promotion and marketing; and his attempts to define a conceptual framework for his artistic endeavor.

Born in Brooklyn in 1853 to a German émigré cabinetmaker, Charles Rohlfs studied drafting and design at the Cooper Union in Manhattan. He earned a living as a designer of cast-iron stoves, was a patternmaker for foundries, and also—with less success—pursued a career as an actor. He married Anna Katharine Green in 1884, and the couple moved to Buffalo in 1887. New research shows that Rohlfs's early experiments with furniture design—which furnished the couple's home—involved close collaboration between husband and wife. When neighbors and guests asked Rohlfs to make furniture for them as well, the hobby became a business. He set up a workshop with a few freelance carvers and, by the 1890s, was promoting himself as a designer of "artistic furniture." Rohlfs produced furniture on commission for the great lodges of several wealthy patrons in the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York; received critical acclaim for work he submitted to international exhibitions such as the 1901 Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo and the 1902 Turin International Exposition of Modern Art; and signed a distribution contract with the Chicago department store Marshall Field & Company. Despite these successes, his workshop was in existence for only a few years. As mass-produced furniture became readily available and styles changed, Rohlfs's eccentric ideas did not attract enough of a following to sustain the business. He all but abandoned cabinetry and became active in civic affairs.

Made of oak stained a matte brown, Rohlfs's furniture was embellished primarily by means of elaborate carving. Although the designer denied any connection to a particular movement or style, his inventive silhouettes and imaginative carving combined many different sources, from the abstract naturalism of Art Nouveau to the bold shapes and materials characteristic of the Arts and Crafts movement. His virtuosic carving recalled Chinese and Japanese forms and highly stylized renditions of nature. He claimed that his individual inspiration came from the natural grain of oak and his own creative imagination. As an example, the carving on one desk chair resembles the cellular structure of oak as seen through a microscope. Other unusual works include a table with legs at the mid-point of each side (rather than at the corners), numerous three-legged chairs with sculptural or filigreed arm- and backrests, and a tapered clock.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art | Charles Rohlfs | The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs | New York |


Today's News

October 19, 2010

More than a Century After He Visited Madrid's Prado Museum, Pierre-Auguste Renoir Returns

Google Partners with Israel Antiquities Authority to Bring Dead Sea Scrolls Online

Five New Paintings by Cy Twombly to Inaugurate Gagosian's New Paris Gallery

Egypt's Top Archaeologist, Zahi Hawass, Shows Off New Tomb that Belonged to Rudj-ka

Photographers and Researchers will Examine Images of the Mexican Revolution

Chairs from Taunton Castle, Somerset, Used During the Bloody Assizes to Sell at Bonhams

Preview Berlin, The Emerging Art Fair, Breaks Visitor Records in Its 6th Edition

Fifty Auctions Later, Los Angeles Modern Auctions is Still Going Strong, Sale Totals $1.55 Million

Sotheby's New York to Offer Property from the Collection of the Late Clarence Day

Contemporary Chinese Paintings from the Allen Memorial Art Museum on View at the Akron Art Museum

Forget the Canvas: That's the Message of David Hockney's New Paris Exhibition

New Online Resource Debuts for Nazi-Era Looted Art, Estimates Half of Objects Not Yet Returned

Archaeologists in Egypt Uncover Nearly 4,500-Year-Old Tomb of a Pharaonic Priest

Bellevue Arts Museum Appoints Marsha Wolf Director of Development

A Fixture of South Florida's Contemporary Art Scene, Art Palm Beach Returns in January

American & European Furniture & Decorative Arts at Bonhams & Butterfields on November 1st

National Gallery Acquires Nine Exceptionally Rare Prints by Rembrandt, Durer and Whistler

Never-Before-Seen Works at the Art Gallery of Ontario Reveal a Darker Side to Henry Moore

Mary Kelly: Four Works in Dialogue 1973-2010 at Moderna Museet in Stockholm

'Who will Dare' to Buy the Rarest Movie Poster in the World? The Bride of Frankenstein Poster for Sale

Kimbell Art Museum Commences Construction on Piano-Designed Building

Innovative Furniture by American Designer Charles Rohlfs Displayed at Metropolitan Museum

Pictures by Grandmother Who Picked Up Paintbrush in Her Sixties Offered at Bonhams

Japanese Dragons with Long Serpentine and Undulating Body Breathe Fire Into Bonhams Sale

Buckingham Palace Experiences Record Number of Visitors in 2010, Highest in 16 Years

New Evidence Found for Flour in Stone-Age Diet

Over 200 Cultural Heritage Sites at Risk: Study

Georgia Museum of Art at UGA Wins SEMC Exhibition Award of Excellence and Eight Publication Awards

Aperture Appoints Chris Boot as New Executive Director

Fans Mourn Closing of Liberace Museum in Las Vegas

Most Popular Last Seven Days



1.- Fever mounts as stunning statues found at Alexander The Great-era tomb

2.- Hi-tech underground scans reveal vast complex of monuments at Britain's Stonehenge

3.- National Geographic Museum opens exhibition featuring shark-munching Spinosaurus

4.- First major New York City exhibition to explore Vienna Actionism opens at Hauser & Wirth

5.- Elizabeth I 'airbrushed' for 18th century make-over and a bug is found in Edward VI

6.- Award winning Swedish director Daniel Fridell to direct Kalliope Films' Vincent Van Gogh biopic

7.- Comprehensive retrospective exhibition of Joan Miró's work opens at the Albertina

8.- Synchrotron radiation technology in art conservation: Science to the rescue of art

9.- Mona Kuhn's first solo exhibition in the US opens at Edwynn Houk Gallery

10.- Sotheby's announces details of its sales series for Property from the Collection of Mrs. Paul Mellon

Related Stories



AXA Equitable donates Thomas Hart Benton's epic mural "America Today" to Met Museum

Exhibition of Forbidden City Treasures Goes on View at Metropolitan Museum in February

New Installation Features Cabinets and Caskets from Metropolitan Museum's Collection

New Installation Features Cabinets, Caskets, and Cases from Metropolitan Museum's Collection

Gifts Enhance Metropolitan Museum's Scholarly Activities in Cycladic and Early Greek Art

Metropolitan Museum to Undertake Major Redesign and Reconstruction of its Fifth Avenue Outdoor Plaza and Fountains

Alexander McQueen's Iconic Designs to be Celebrated in Spring 2011 at the Metropolitan

Metropolitan and Egypt Announce Initiative to Recognize Egypt's Title to Objects from Tut's Tomb

Sculptural Installations by Contemporary Icelandic Artist Katrin Sigurdardottir on View at Metropolitan

First NYC Museum Exhibition on the Tradition of Spanish Draftsmanship Opens at the Frick Collection



Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .

 

Founder:
Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez - Marketing: Carla Gutiérrez
Special Contributor: Liz Gangemi - Special Advisor: Carlos Amador
Contributing Editor: Carolina Farias

Royalville Communications, Inc
produces:

ignaciovillarreal.org theavemaria.org juncodelavega.org facundocabral-elfinal.org
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
Hommage
to a Mexican poet.
Hommage
       

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site