Sofa (Primary Title)
Pair of Sofas (Former Title)
This bold Rococo Revival sofa was inspired by 18th-century French design but produced with a 19th-century technological advance – steam-bent laminated wood. Belter, a German émigré who ran one of the leading furniture companies in New York, helped perfect the technique that allowed craftsmen to create deeply curved, relatively thin seat backs. The sofa’s decorative scrolls, fruit, and flowers – hand carved from six to eight layers of thin rosewood fused together – echo the abundance celebrated in Severin Roesen’s still life hanging nearby. Such motifs resonated with affluent Americans, who viewed their young nation’s natural resources as plentiful and boundless.
In the early 1900s, an owner of the sofa and its similar mate had their frames coated with a layer of bright gold lead, which helped them blend visually with his collection of gilded French furnishings. VMFA’s objects conservation department has recently restored this one to its original appearance.
Some object records are not complete and do not reflect VMFA's full and current knowledge. VMFA makes routine updates as records are reviewed and enhanced.