Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York
In the early 1800s, furniture from the workshop of New York City cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe (1770–1854) was in such demand that he was referred to as the "United States Rage." This exhibition—the first retrospective on Phyfe in ninety years—re-introduces this artistic and influential master cabinetmaker to a contemporary audience.
The full chronological sweep of Phyfe's distinguished career is featured, including examples of his best–known furniture based on the English Regency designs of Thomas Sheraton, work from the middle and later stages of his career when he adopted the richer "archaeological" antique style of the 1820s, and a highly refined, plain Grecian style based on French Restauration prototypes. The exhibition brings together nearly one hundred works from private and public collections throughout the United States. Highlights of the exhibition include some never-before-seen documented masterpieces and furniture descended directly in the Phyfe family, as well as the cabinetmaker's own tool chest.
Organized chronologically, the exhibition presents the cabinetmaker's life and work through drawings, documents, personal possession, and furniture. Portraits of his clients and contemporary depictions of New York City street scenes and domestic interiors provide a glimpse into Phyfe's milieu.