Reviewed | Extravagant Inventions

Posted in books, catalogues, Member News, reviews by Editor on June 20, 2013

Recently added to caa.reviews:

Wolfram Koeppe, Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2012), 304 pages, ISBN: 978-0300185027, $75.

Reviewed by Michael Yonan; Department of Art History & Archaeology, University of Missouri; posted 6 June 2013.

9780300185027Once in a while an exhibition comes along that achieves many things. It illuminates past and present, and does so by creating a viewing experience both beautiful and instructive. All the better when such an exhibition also brightens up a blind spot in the history of art. The exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art entitled ‘Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens’ achieved this. Curated by Wolfram Koeppe, Maria Kellen French Curator of European Decorative Arts, the show was a monographic investigation of father-and-son furniture makers Abraham (1711–1793) and David Roentgen (1743–1807), whose workshop in the German town of Neuwied produced furniture for the European elite between 1743 and 1800. By my estimation this was the decorative arts show of the decade, an educationally illuminating and utterly enjoyable museum experience whose rewards far
exceeded, in the words of a colleague of mine, the
opportunity to look at ‘old desks’. . . .

The full review is available here» (CAA membership required)

2 Responses

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  1. Frances and David White said, on June 20, 2013 at 4:19 pm

    And it’s been closed for six months!

    • Editor said, on June 20, 2013 at 5:41 pm

      Indeed. As eighteenth-century field editor for caa.reviews, I can assure you that CAA is aware of the problem. Michael was admirably prompt in submitting his review, but there is a dreadful bottleneck between the points of submission and publication.

      On the other hand, a review in this context has less to do with advising people to go see an exhibition (a posting here at Enfilade alerted readers six weeks before it opened) and much more to do with assessing its importance. To my thinking, Michael does a fine job of that in his review, and the catalogue remains as both a scholarly source and a document of the exhibition. -Craig Hanson

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