This visually arresting, deep-teal hued Gothic sofa by Kimbel and Cabus (circa 1875) presents a paradox. The angled arms and legs meet to suggest adjustability or flexibility, but the strong mortise-and-tenon joints that secure the legs and rails render motion impossible.
By creatively inverting German architect Edwin poplar’s angled rear chair leg, the firm created a surprisingly forward-looking sofa design.
Photographed in the Brooklyn Museum as Part of the Exhibit Modern Gothic: The Inventive Furniture of Kimbel and Cabus, 1863–82, on View Through February 13th, 2022.
The first version of Alexandre Cabanel’s The Birth of Venus created a sensation at the Salon of 1863, which was dubbed the “Salon of Venuses” owing to the number of alluring nudes on view. Embodying the ideals of academic art, the careful modeling, silky brushwork, and mythological subject of Cabanel’s canvas proved a winning combination: the Salon picture was purchased by no leas that Napoleon III for his personal collection. In 1875 , Jon Wolfe commissioned the present, slightly smaller, replica from Cabanel.
Photographed in The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC