J. Pierpont Morgan amassed large holdings of medieval art and seventeenth-and-eighteenth-century French decorative art from the collection of interior decorator Georges Hoentschel. Grasping the collection’s importance to artists and designers, Morgan immediately donated many decorative works to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Even the financier may not have fully realized what an impact his gift would have. It led to a new wing, which opened in 1910, and the creation of The Met’s Decorative Arts department, which was the first of its kind in an American museum.
Several chairs from the Hoentschel collection have distinguished provenances, including this Neoclassical Armchair (1788) by Georges Jacob, who was one of the most important joiners (a person who constructs the wooden components of a building, such as stairs, doors, and door and window frames) of the late eighteenth century. The seat was made for the gaming room at the Chateau de Saint Cloud, a summer residence of the French royal family.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit, Making the Met at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC.
These superb Wrought Iron Gates (circa 1900) by Emile Robert (French 1860 -1924) are rendered by hand in the curvilinear Art Nouveau style, which originated in northern Europe in the late 1890s and flourished until World War I. The revival of interest in wrought iron work in this period was inspired by the beautiful, ornate, Rococo gates and fences around the main square and garden of the French city of Nancy, an early center of the Art Nouveau style. The butterfly motif in these gates is indicative of the main influences of Art Nouveau design: observation of the natural world and motifs popular in Japanese art.