19th Anniversary

19th Anniversary 130 www.afamag.com |  www.incollect.com D uring the first decades of the nineteenth century, the highest-level American cabinetmakers and craftsmen produced a stunning array of furniture and decorative arts in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore. Using as their inspiration pieces being imported from England and the Continent, the memory of work seen abroad either before emigrating to the United States or on trips to England and France to study the latest fashions in the decorative arts, and English Regency and French Empire design books available in America shortly after being published abroad, American artisans continued the great tradition of design and craftsmanship that had been firmly established in America during the eighteenth century. Before the exhibition Classical America, 1815–1845 was mounted at the Newark Museum in 1963, little academic attention had been paid to the American neoclassical decorative arts of the early nineteenth century. In 1922, The Metropolitan Museum had organized an exhibition devoted to the “best period” in the career of cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe (1768–1854), documented in a book by then-curator Charles Over Cornelius. And in 1939, Nancy McClelland authored another book on Phyfe, which for a long time served as the definitive text on the subject. Otherwise, there was almost nothing published before the Recent Acquisitions of American Neoclassical Decorative Arts at Hirschl & Adler Galleries by Elizabeth Feld & Stuart P. Feld text continues on page 137