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date: 15 October 2019

Herter, Christianlocked

(b Stuttgart, Jan 8, 1839; d New York, Nov 2, 1883).
  • Oscar P. Fitzgerald


(b Stuttgart, Jan 8, 1839; d New York, Nov 2, 1883).

American cabinetmaker and designer of German birth. He completed his studies in Stuttgart and Paris and arrived in New York in 1859 to join his half-brother, Gustave Herter (1830–98), who ran a decorating business. After becoming an American citizen in 1867, he travelled to Paris and England, returning c. 1870, when he bought Herter Bros from Gustave. The firm’s luxurious furniture and interiors from the early 1870s show the influence of the Paris Opéra by Charles Garnier, which he had no doubt seen. From the mid-1870s, however, the work of Herter Bros exhibited the more restrained and geometric lines of English design reformers, particularly the architect E. W. Godwin, who promoted an enthusiasm for things Japanese. Although Herter’s best Eastlake-style furniture reflects many of the reform ideas, he also used earlier Renaissance Revival (see fig.) and Néo-Grec designs (see fig.). Much of his work shows a strong Japanese flavour, with angular, ebonized cherry cases enlivened with wild flower, insect and bird marquetry (...

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