Group of seven chairs
Carved walnut wood, lacquered in gray green and cream and partially gilded
Milan, 1820 circa
height 36.61 in (18.11 in to the seat) x 19.29 in x 19.68
(height 93 cm – 46 cm to the seat – 49 cm x 50 cm)
Each one weighs circa 22.04 lb (circa 10.00 kg )
State of conservation: some signs of use and some touch-up work performed on the lacquer. The green fabric is modern.
This is one of the seat models most in vogue in Milan at the beginning of the 19th century. It represents a simplified version of the models that evolved in the wake of the work of Giocondo Albertolli (1742-1839), who was considered the “restorer of good taste”, that is, the one who brought back classic tastes. In fact, this revival saw Milan as one of the main venues for the birth of the new neoclassical esthetic among the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. His teachings spread thanks to his numerous treatises and led to the birth of a fervent artistic current in Milan, in particular.
The chairs in question are well suited to this style: the curved back rests naturally on the rear legs, describing a semicircle; the fitting with the seat is turned. The simplicity of the hind legs, saber-shaped, contrasts with the shape of the front legs. These branch off from the seat through a quadrangular capital, narrow into a constriction centered around a ring, and then develop into a truncated cone. This tapers sharply downwards, is grooved and ends in a turned olive shape.
The chairs are soberly decorated with a gray green and cream lacquer, framing the seat and backrest, and are embellished with a slightly raised gilt profile. Other golden highlights mark the line and the carvings of the legs. It is precisely the refined simplicity of the structure and the ornamentation which suggest an even earlier dating, perhaps around the turn of the two centuries.
Works of this type are found especially in Lombardy; see some refined models kept in the Museum of Applied Arts of the Castello Sforzesco in Milan (Enrico Colle, Museo d’Arti Applicate, mobili e intagli lignei, Milano 1996, p. 294 n. 495).
E. Colle, Museo d’Arti Applicate, mobili e intagli lignei, Milano1996.