Herter Brothers Attributed Cabinet

by John Werry on March 17, 2009


I think that Herter Brothers fans would likely agree with me when I say that I don’t think the Herter Brothers attribution on this cabinet currently for sale on Ebay is warranted.  The use of hardware on this piece is in line with the more literal French-influenced styling of the period.  For example, the gilt-bronze  beading that trim this cabinet was a treatment favored by Leon Marcotte.  I don’t suggest that he made this cabinet;  only that there are more likely attributions than Herter Brothers.

Additionally, I am unaware of Herter Brothers ever using the rosettes of the style used on the door panel corners on this cabinet.  Gustave Herter, however, did incorporate rosettes on some of his parlor furniture, but they seemed to be unique designs and not be the “stock” hardware shown on this piece.  Gustave would have also preferred to carve the bust out of wood rather than have a gilt-bronze bust as this piece has.  It would be interesting to remove the larger hardware on this piece and take a peek at the back for markings.

If you leaf through the photos in the Herter Brothers book, you may notice that the Herters usually opted to fully carve their decorative elements from wood – figural busts, lions, and griffins – using the gilt-bronze P. E. Guerin hardware more sparingly than Pottier & Stymus tended to do.

I also do not dismiss the notion that this piece could be European based on style and design.  After all, the seller deals heavily in European furniture, though they of course can acquire furniture from any continent.  I have no conclusive evidence to nail down the country or the maker, only that I don’t believe that it was manufactured by Herter Brothers.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

james conrad March 17, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Yeah, well, “attributed to” has become little more than a marketing gimmick these days, experienced as well as beginning collectors stop and look so i guess it has that going for it.

This is unfortunate considering that the most expensive/important piece of American furniture is attributed.


max March 23, 2009 at 4:29 pm

Not one single Herter element!


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