Josef Ulrich Danhauser (Vienna, Austria, 1780–1829)
Settee, ca. 1815
Mahogany veneer, gilding, reconstructed upholstery
44 1/2 × 84 1/4 × 26 in. (113.03 × 214 × 66.04 cm)
Gift of René von Schleinitz Memorial Fund, by exchange M2001.61
Photo credit John R. Glembin
During the Biedermeier period, family virtues were exalted. Austrian Emperor Francis I enjoined his subjects: “Preserve unity in the family and regard it as one of the highest goods.” Wealthy Austrians outfitted each room to serve a particular function, such as sewing, writing, taking coffee, or making music; in smaller homes, discreet clusters of furniture within a single room served the same purpose. Early in his career, the Viennese designer Josef Ulrich Danhauser produced this exquisite mahogany and gilt sofa for just such a domestic setting, becoming the period’s most prolific and largest of furniture suppliers to the middle and upper classes. Danhauser and other contemporary furniture makers emphasized clarity of form, relying on the inherent beauty of their materials, which included richly grained woods.
This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.