High Chest of Drawers
High Chest of Drawers, 1760–75
Walnut, yellow poplar, white cedar, brass hardware (replaced)
94 1/2 × 46 3/4 × 23 3/4 in. (240.03 × 118.75 × 60.33 cm)
Purchase, Virginia Booth Vogel Acquisition Fund M1984.120
Photo credit: John Nienhuis
Philadelphia was one of the most rapidly growing cities in America during the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. High demand for new furnishings attracted immigrant craftsmen familiar with the most recent British fashions, particularly Rococo design. Although the high chest was outmoded in London by 1730, American cabinetmakers continued to refine the form for another 60 years, culminating in the Philadelphia Rococo interpretation. This unattributed example features the highly developed Philadelphia characteristics of complex scrolled pediments, well-placed drawers, and broad expanses meant to showcase exquisite Rococo carving. Such a piece would have dominated a room, yet its function was more intimate—to store linens and clothing.
Sotheby's, ed. "The Acme of Perfection Tea Table: Auction in New York 19 January 2008." (New York, Sotheby's, Inc.: 2008), p. 22, fig. 2. Andera, Margaret, Nonie Gadsden, Britt Salvesen, and Laurie Winters. Collection Guide: Milwaukee Art Museum. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 2004, pp. 27, 69, cat. 38, color illus. p. 27. Milwaukee Art Museum. Building a Masterpiece: Milwaukee Art Museum. New York: Hudson Hill Press, 2001, p. 100, color illus. Hughes, Robert. "American Visions: The Epic History of Art in America." (Alfred A knopf, New York: 1997), color repro. p. 62, fig. 41. Ward, Gerald W., and Brock W. Jobe. American Furniture With Related Decorative Arts, 1660 - 1830: the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Layton Art Collection. New York: Hills Press, 1991, p. 166-9, cat. 62, color illus. p. 152, b/w illus. p. 166-8. The Milwaukee Foundation 1987 Annual report, "Arts & Culture" pg. 18, b/w detail repro. Goldstein, Rosalie, ed. Guide to the Permanent Collection. Milwaukee, Wisconsin: Milwaukee Art Museum, 1986, p. 70, color illus. p. 70.
This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.