Herter Chaise Longue in museum's restoration department © Christian Dewamin

Restoration of American Chaise Longue

In 2012, the American Friends Musee d’Orsay gave an exquisite pair of “Moorish-style” chairs to the museum, originally commissioned in 1880 from the New York-based Herter Brothers for the Vanderbilt mansion.

Earlier this year, curator Yves Badetz, in charge of acquisitions, approached us with their discovery in the south of France of a Herter Brother chaise longue.  Approved by our board a few months later, the museum purchased the piece, which is currently in its restoration department to repair the badly damaged legs and upholstery. Paying tribute to the master craftsmen, they strive to re-create its original splendor.

The Herter Brothers were the interior designers of choice for the wealthy barons of America’s “Gilded Age”, known for designing the famous Red Room in the White House under President Ulysses S. Grant. Having left Germany in the mid-19th century, the Herter family continued the fine woodworking traditions of the “old world” in their new homeland and quickly rose to fame and fortune as cabinet makers and interior designers for America’s “first families”.

Yves Badetz sought the acquisition of the chairs and chaise longue so visitors can compare the different aesthetic tastes in style and decor in 19th century France and the United States.

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