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Dresser with Mirror

Decorative Arts

These two dressers were produced in New York about a generation apart for style-conscious, upper-middle-class consumers. The Belter dresser, with its undulating contours and profusion of naturalistic decoration, is a masterpiece of the Rococo Revival style, while the later, ebonized dresser is in the more geometric Aesthetic Movement style. The Aesthetic Movement represented a conscious rejection of the perceived excesses of the overwrought revival style that preceded it. Its proponents urged design reforms based on Augustus Pugin’s principles (see the gaming table nearby), as well as new lessons learned from the art of Japan. Although both dressers were considered stylish when made, it is the simple rectilinear form and flattened, abstract decoration of the later piece that appear “modern” to us today.
MEDIUM Ebonized cherry, other woods, mirrored glass, brass
DATES ca. 1880
DIMENSIONS Dresser and Mirror: 90 x 53 x 26 in. (228.6 x 134.6 x 66 cm) (a) chest: 30 3/8 x 55 1/2 x 25 15/16 in. (77.2 x 141 x 65.9 cm) Other ((b) Mirror): 61 1/4 x 53 1/4 x 12 3/4 in. (155.6 x 135.3 x 32.4 cm)
COLLECTIONS Decorative Arts
CREDIT LINE Gift of Mr. and Mrs. John B. Schorsch
MUSEUM LOCATION This item is not on view
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