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Honoré Lannuier, Cabinetmaker from Paris: The Life and Work of a French Ébéniste in Federal New York

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 Honoré Lannuier, Cabinetmaker from Paris: The Life and Work of a French Ébéniste in Federal New York

Honoré Lannuier, Cabinetmaker from Paris:
The Life and Work of a French Ébéniste in Federal New York

Metropolitan Museum of Art/H.N.Abrams | 1998 | ISBN: 0870998358/0810965178 | English | PDF | 270 pages | 38.96 Mb

Although his brief but productive career as a cabinetmaker in New York lasted a mere sixteen years, the French-born maître ébéniste Charles-Honoré Lannuier (1779–1819) was a leading figure in the development of a distinctive and highly refined style of furniture in the Late Federal period. A contemporary of the renowned master Duncan Phyfe, Lannuier, like him, made fashionable gilded card tables, marble-topped pier tables, bedsteads, and seating furniture for wealthy clients numbering among the mercantile and social elite of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Richmond, and Savannah.

Honoré, one of ten children, spent his formative years in France. From his much older brother Nicolas, a Parisian cabinetmaker who had attained the rank of master in 1783, he undoubtedly learned the "art and mystery" of cabinetmaking firsthand, honing His skills for a decade before departing for America in 1803. Not long after Honoré heralded his arrival with an advertisement in The New York Evening Post, he established his own workshop and wareroom at 60 Broad Street, and, by 1804, was listed in the New York City Directory. One of his most important commissions, seating furniture for the Common Council Chamber in New York's new City Hall among the most imposing 19th-century public buildings in the United States—would be completed in 1812 and much of it still remains in situ.

Lannuier traded on his French background and the cachet that it implied with the handsomely engraved bilingual label that he applied to his finished pieces, which emphasized that he was transmitting directly to America the Greco-Roman revival style popularized in Republican and Early Empire France. This near-obsessive labeling of his work has permitted scholars to appreciate the extent of his considerable legacy of classical style furniture and its impact on the New York cabinetmaking establishment. While his career was cut short by his untimely death, at age 40, when he was at the height of his creative powers, Lannuier's reputation continues to this day. with documented examples of his furniture in the permanent collections of the foremost museums, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, the Winterthur Museum, and The White House.
Foreword
John K. Howat

Preface
Peter M. Kenny

Acknowledgments

Lenders to the Exhibition

Chapter 1. Charles-Honoré Lannuier's Origins in France: From Chantilly and Paris to New York
Ulrich Leben

Chapter 2. Lannuier's Life and Work in New York, 1803–19
Peter M. Kenny

Chapter 3. Lannuier's Clients in America: A Taste for French Style
Frances F. Bretter

Chapter 4. The Essence of Lannuier: Connoisseurship of his Known Work
Peter M. Kenny

Catalogue
Peter M. Kenny and Frances F. Bretter

Appendix
Selected Bibliography
Index
Photograph Credits


Ulrich Leben is Deputy Keeper, Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire.

Peter M. Kenny is Associate Curator, American Decorative Arts, and administrator of The American Wing, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Frances F. Bretter is Research Associate, American Decorative Arts, Department of American Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.


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 Honoré Lannuier, Cabinetmaker from Paris: The Life and Work of a French Ébéniste in Federal New York