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New Book | American Furniture, 1650–1840

Posted in books by Editor on February 22, 2021

Distributed by Yale University Press:

Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley, American Furniture, 1650–1840: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2021), 336 pages, ISBN: 978-0876332962, $50.

American Furniture, 1650–1840: Highlights from the Philadelphia Museum of Art is the first publication dedicated to one of the finest collections of its type in the country. Best known for furniture by artisans from Philadelphia and southeastern Pennsylvania, the museum’s collection includes significant examples from cities and regions farther afield. Interpretive texts for each work focus on design sources, showing how early American furniture participated in an international visual language. A vibrant local economy was bolstered by coastal trade bringing Caribbean mahogany and European imports that continued to influence local production. By the 1740s Philadelphia had developed a distinctive idiom and led the developing nation in style and aesthetics. This volume provides an important resource for scholars of American furniture, illuminates the cultural and mercantile life of the fledgling nation, and offers a lively introduction to the donors, curators, and personalities who have shaped the institution from its earliest days to the present.

Alexandra Alevizatos Kirtley is the Montgomery-Garvan Curator of American Decorative Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.