Thursday, August 20, 2015

Photo Friday: Aesthetic Movement Sideboard

By Gretchen Sawatzki

In 1853, the Japanese islands ended their self-imposed isolationism to American Commodore Matthew C. Perry, and with that came a flow of unique Japanese goods. Soon after, Japanese design elements were incorporated into all aspects of design, making their way as far west as Britain and later the United States. This new design emerged in the time of Design Reform known as the the Aesthetic Movement (ca. 1870 - 1900). The Aesthetic Movement was a period in which fine art, furniture, design, and decorative elements were created as "art for art's sake," creating opportunities for the "every day man" to have refined design in the average household. This period-style of design is characterized by its Japanese influence with flat carvings of birds, ginkgo leaves, fish, and flowers.

This Aesthetic Movement sideboard was likely manufactured by Berkey & Gay of Grand Rapids, Michigan - the furniture capital of the world at this time, circa 1885. It features carved animals, flowers, and outdoor scenes and is a perfect example of the Aesthetic Movement and Japanese influenced design.

Image by Hannah Manning via Material Unlimited

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