Sunday, October 12, 2008
Artifact Relocation (Jayson Parker)
The library table was designed by the Herter Brothers who were German Born but opened up a successful cabinetmaking and decorating firm in the late nineteenth century. They formed their firm during a period in history when the wealthy were changing what it meant to live luxuriously. It was during this time that their famous library table was made for a gentleman by the name of William Henry Vanderbilt. Her first designed his fifth avenue mansion from 1879 to 1882 and then the library table to which would be centered in the library. Aesthetically this table contributed to the overall look, and it complimented the paneling through its use of rosewood with lavish mother of pearl and brass inlay (The Metropolitan Museum of Art 1). Furthermore, this table served more as a symbol than for pragmatism. It was an august library table that implied Mr. Vanderbilt was powerful and highly esteemed, as he was the richest man in America at that time. Not only did this table allude to Mr. Vanderbilt’s power but also the details contained within the table bring out the respect and power from the Roman Empire as Napoleanic Heraldry. It is even said, that the globes on each end imply that Vanderbilt had the world within his grasp; and the table top presents a celestial field with the stars over the northern hemisphere on the day Vanderbilt was born, May 8, 1821 (Metropolitan Museum of Art 2).
The library table, because of the power it references from the past and that it uses that power to affect the viewers today, it has been chosen to be relocated into a world renown politicians office. The designer Jayson Parker specifically designed the room the table is placed in, around the library table. As a result, the room is longer than it is wide, the door is centered on the table, and when people enter the room their vision is immediately directed to the table. It draws the eye and shows the importance the owner places on antiquity, alluding to the past, power and self. In addition to the shape of the room there are lights on each side of the table and above it to further draw out the singular importance and power it bestows upon the owner. This also enhances its hierarchical importance within the room. It is as if a divine power placed this table in the suns rays to fulfill its purpose in life.
With a piece this magnificent, we would expect nothing less superb from subsequent works. The crafter of this table, the Herter Brothers, do not disappoint with a later work- a writer’s desk. There are two writers desk in this room placed on each side of the rug in the center of the room. They were primarily chosen to bring balance to the room, to offer similar materials and finishes and to add to show how magnificent the works of the Herter brothers are.
Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. “American Decorative Arts.” 2008. Sept. 21, 2008.The M