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American Folk Marquetry: Masterpieces in Wood

Muhlberger, Richard

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ISBN 10: 0912161078 / ISBN 13: 9780912161075
Published by Museum of Amer Folk Art, 1999
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: American Folk Marquetry: Masterpieces in ...

Publisher: Museum of Amer Folk Art

Publication Date: 1999

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

About this title

Synopsis:

Marquetry is decorative work in which amazing puzzle-like patterns are formed by intricately cut and shaped wood chips--or veneers--that are glued in place to ornament the surfaces of furniture and personal objects.

American Folk Marquetry: Masterpieces in Woodis the first volume to record the history of marquetry and the American masters who handed down the tradition from father to son. Never before has American folk marquetry been investigated, cataloged, or recognized as a distinct body of work. Until recently, documentation had not been discovered, names of marquetry makers were unknown, and a collection of important work was not available for study. Richard Mühlberger, former director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts, has written this beautifully illustrated volume after years of research and collaboration with collectors Robert and Marjorie Hirschhorn.

Mühlberger traces history of marquetry from its earliest known examples in ancient Egypt through its high point in fifteenth-century Italy, where it was described as "painting in wood," and its popularity as conspicuous symbol of luxury at eighteenth-century Versailles to its arrival in the United States, where it gained a foothold at the start of the Guilded Age in 1865 and lasted, mostly as a hobby, for almost ninety years. The hours of labor necessary to ornament an object with marquetry were worth far more than anyone was willing to pay and, as a result, the gift of a piece of marquetry was priceless, representing a great investment of time and emotion. Mühlberger's chapters on the marquetry makers--the story of Frederick Stedman Hazen, whose unique secretary is decorated with 21,000 pieces of wood; tales of sailors' marquetry and prisoners' work; and the concept of marquetry as "male quilting"--are especially captivating.

Many of the pieces illustrated are included in the exhibition "Masterpieces in Wood: American Folk Marquetry from The Hirschhorn Foundation," organized by Richard Mühlberger as guest curator for the American Folk Art Museum.

In short, American Folk Marquetry: Masterpieces In Wood by Richard Mühlberger is the first volume to record the history of marquetry and the American masters who handed down the tradition from father to son. Marquetry is decorative work in which amazing puzzle-like patterns are formed by intricately cut and shaped wood chips or veneers that are glued in place to ornament the surfaces of furniture and personal objects. Richard Mühlberger, former director of Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, MA, has written this beautifully illustrated volume after years of research and collaboration with collectors Robert and Marjorie Hirschhorn. Mühlberger was a guest curator for the American Folk Art Museum. Printed in the U.S.A. Measures: 9 3/8" x 10 13/16" x 11/16". Hardcover; 242 pages.

About the Author:

Richard Mühlberger has written thirteen books in the last five years, eleven of them in collaboration with The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The Christmas Story: Told Through Paintings, published with Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, is one of the Met's best-selling books. What Makes a Monet a Monet is one in a popular series of ten volumes on great painters, published with Viking Press. Mühlberger is the curator of "Masterpieces in Wood: American Folk Marquetry from The Hirschhorn Foundation," an exhibition presented by the American Folk Art Museum from October 3, 1998 to January 10, 1999.

Educated at Wayne State University and The Johns Hopkins University, Mühlberger started his career as head of the education department at the Worcester Art Museum in Massachusetts, then held the same position at The Detroit Institute of Arts, and later served as director of the Museum of Fine Arts, Springfield, Massachusetts, for twelve years. He was also vice director for education of The Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1989 through 1992. He lives in Springfield, where he teaches art and architectural history at Western New England College.

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