More on Pennsylvania Furniture

The Carnegie Museum of Art has on display two pieces of furniture that give us some insight into furniture making in Western Pennsylvania. The first is a tall case clock made by Thomas Hutchinson. The face of the clock bears his name and is labled Washington, Pa. The case features many elements known to be hallmarks of Western Pennsylvania furniture including a vine and leaf inlay design.

The earlier furniture such as the case clock seems to be better chonicled that later furniture, made after 1830. The Carnegie also features a sideboard labled as being made by Henry Beares. The sideboard has many features of a Philadelphia piece, although it does seem to have more mass than comparable Philadelphia furniture.

One has to assume it would not be unique. The book Pittsburgh’s Commercial Development shows furniture being shipped both to and from Pittsburgh as early as 1835 (the earliest year the book covers. Newspaper ads feature other companies making furniture in Pittsburgh and Allegheny in the 1830s, including the Allegheny Chair at the corner of Ohio Street and “the Diamond” in Allegheny.

Both examples in the Carnegie serve to show that the quality of cabinet making in Pittsburgh from the late Eighteenth Century through the 1830s was fairly sophisticated and even somewhat comperable to what was being made in the East.

About Art After X

With the death of President Kennedy in 1963, America changed. As hard as it is to minimize that sentiment, the effect of Dallas was even greater. The same year saw the merging of the Dallas Museum for Contemporary Arts, which had been central to the art scene, and the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. Douglas MacAgy, then the director of DMCA, not only opposed the merger, but also declined to directorship of the combined museum. The regionalist movement which had been strong for decades, was giving way to more of an interest in what was going on nationally, and internationally. Like it or not, Dallas was on the national stage. When the Kennedy’s arrived in Fort Worth, local collectors had decorated a hotel room with internationally-renowned works. While the president and his wife learned a great deal about the ability of Texans to collect major art, there was little they could glean about the local scene in this era-defining city. With this in mind, we have begun a project to look not back at the art scene in Dallas, but foreword from 1963. We are interviewing gallery owners, curators and others involved in the art scene then, but this will be a story told mostly through interviews with artists active in the city from that point into the 1980s. The result will be a book with a video component. We hope you will join us in our journey. The hashtag for the project is #artafterx and the url will point to the latest updates on this weblog.

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