Maker: Manner of A. M. E. Fournier (French, active after 1850)
Date: ca. 1860
Culture: French, probably Paris
Medium: Gilded wood, upholstered in modern green tufted velvet
Dimensions: 45 3/8 x 26 1/2 x 24 3/4 in. (115.3 x 67.3 x 62.9 cm)
Credit Line: Purchase, Friends of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts Gifts, 1998
Accession Number: 1998.382
While the illusion of twisted and knotted rope, which is associated with the work of the Parisian upholsterer A. M. E. Fournier, is indicative of the mid-nineteenth-century's flair for novelty, the chair's curvilinear outline is characteristic of the Rococo Revival. The voluminous tufted upholstery, which was complementary to the popular style, camouflaged the innovative use of coiled springs, an invention that revolutionized seating furniture. Upholstery springs, first employed in the eighteenth century for carriages and gymnastic chairs, came into more general use in the 1820s, making seating furniture more comfortable. By the third quarter of the nineteenth century, the art of the upholsterer rivaled that of the cabinetmaker, as evidenced at the 1867 International Exhibition, where the majority of exhibitors of fine quality cabinet furniture, such as Jeanselme and Fourdinois, also described themselves as upholsterers. A set of stools of similar design designed by Fournier is at the Château de Compiègne and inspired the Baccarat glass factory to manufacture glass seats in this style.