Possibly by Duncan Phyfe (American (born in Scotland), 1770–1854)
Object Place: New York, New York
Eighteenth-Century American Arts No. 124
86.36 x 193.7 x 59.1 cm (34 x 76 1/4 x 23 1/4 in.)
Medium or Technique
Mahogany, cherry, cane, modern upholstery
C. Kevin and G. Barrie Landry Gallery (Gallery 126)
Back: 3 panels of caned beneath rail with curved surface; carved with paired cornucopiae, wheat-ears, festooned drapery in low relief. Ends: panel of caning below rail similar to back; front support with reed-moulding sweeps into cross-legged supports. Seat: caned, front rail reed-moulded; rails mahogany, braces cherry. Legs: paired cross-legged supports, each with paw-foot terminals of brass; surfaces at front reed-moulded. Turned stretcher between front and back legs.
The base and S-curved legs of this sofa and the chairs, exhibited nearby, may be traced to the “sella curulis,” an ancient Roman folding stool that was a seat of honor for magistrates who presided over the Roman republic. During the Middle Ages, this chair was used by heads of state and church leaders; it reemerged in the mid-eighteenth century in Europe, with the start of Neoclassicism. The so-called curule form carried centuries of associations with the classical world, power, and leadership-all qualities highly valued in the new American republic.
Early history unknown; purchased, probably at auction, for The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts and given to the Museum in 1939 (Accession Date January 12, 1939)
The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts