About this artwork
This chair is an elegant example of the style of furniture made during the quarter century following the end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815. During this period it was thought that a citizen’s principal duty was to live a quiet life: the home became a sanctuary where domestic values and family-centered activities were elevated and cherished. These virtues were exemplified in the popular press by a comic fictional character whose name, Biedermeier, eventually came to identify the period and its art. Biedermeier style began in courtly and aristocratic circles before becoming popular with the newly prosperous middle classes.
Made in Vienna of native walnut, this side chair was designed to be comfortable, durable, easily portable, and adaptable to a variety of uses. Designated design no. 89 in the archives of Joseph Danhauser’s factory, Vienna’s most famous and prolific furniture and furnishings factory of the era, it is an exercise in spare, flattened, curvilinear shapes. A booming market in furniture making called for greater creativity from designers and allowed customers greater choice: someone purchasing a side chair from Danhauser’s factory had a choice of 153 different versions.
- Walnut and modern replacement upholstery
- 93.5 × 48.5 × 48 cm (36 13/16 × 19 1/16 × 18 15/16 in.)
- Gift of the Antiquarian Society from the Capital Campaign Fund