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Art Nouveau Biedermeier Chair
[Biedermeier chair]

[Biedermeier chair]

Several years after I had built a Regency Dining Table for their coastal home in New Hampshire, clients contacted me to discuss furnishings for their new residence in Naples. Although they were avid collectors of fine antiques, they entertained large parties, and needed custom furniture built to compliment their antiques.

They had ordered another Regency period dining table, this time in the style of King George IV of England. This was made in cherry wood, and the pedestals were more ornately carved. To accompany this table they needed chairs, but were looking for something different. We came upon a chair of the Beidermeier style, which evolved in Austria and Germany, almost concurrent with the Regency period In England. The model for this particular chair is thought to have been designed by Joseph Danhauser, and built in the Danhauser Furniture Factory in Vienna, Austria between 1830-1840. We made our version of these chairs in cherry to match the table, rather than the customary beech wood of the period.

The chair design is deceptively modern to this day, even though it dates to the early 1800s. There are no stretchers, so the smooth curves of the legs are clearly expressed. The chair back was also bold in its simplicity of form. After considering the possibilities of construction, I chose to make this back of bent laminations, which were then veneered with cherry. Fine brass pin striping was inlaid into the chair back to replace the ebony in the original, to create contrast and further define the curves.