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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Museum Review: Extravagant Inventions - The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens



Extravagant Inventions: 
The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (closed)
Metropolitan Museum of Art 

   Another review of a closed Museum Exhibit in New York City! You are Welcome, readers!

   This was interesting to me because you don't see a whole lot of high-end 18th century European furniture on this side of the Atlantic.  Sure, if you want to hit Paris or Amsterdam the Louvre and Rijksmuseum got suites filled with the stuff, but not so much the United States.  

   Roentgen was a father/son furniture workshop from Germany/Netherlands that sold to a bunch I like to call, "The crowned heads of Europe."  Basically, he would finacle a face-to-face meeting with various royalty and then pitch them on buying furniture which he has either already made or would make on demand.  We are talking, King of France, Catherine the Great of Russia Etc. 

  As one might have every reason to expect, the furniture is amazing because they just haven't made furniture that ornate and detailed since the 18th century- the 19th century kind of killed demand for ornate writing desk's among the Kings and Queens of Europe:  pesky social revolutions!

  But as I sit here today- that time period- the early Modern period where skilled craftsmen made material possessions for royalty using modern techniques of crafte and manufacture- they made some ill shit.   Whether it be jewelry or furniture- the work stands up.  Particularly the techniques used by craftsmen to manufacture articles like furniture and jewelry.  I won't say it's a lost part, but people don't appreciate it like they used to, and there certainly aren't a ton of Kings and Queens sitting around going, "BRING ME YOUR FINEST MARQUETRY."

  People still appreciate furniture, but the appreciation is more likely to take the form of appreciation for the sturdy workmanship of Colonial America or the sleek lines of Modernism.  America wasn't even independent when most of the pieces in Extravagant Inventions was manufactured.  Pretty incredible that these pieces still exist.

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