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Rare American Art Nouveau Japonesque Etagere

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20th Century
Description and Overview 

American Aesthetic etagere, Art Nouveau with a Japanese influence, a design recalling the terraced and platform Oriental architecture, reinforced with shaped silvered plate-glass beveled mirrors suggesting “windows,” crafted in golden-colored maple, suggesting bamboo, enhanced with birds-eye figuring and carved scrolling vines suggesting the diapered repetitive motifs of Oriental attire and decorative art, and finished with organic brass mounts using the lotus, an Eastern emblem of summertime and fruitfulness, sacred in Buddhism.

A tall shaped back has a trefoil-arched crest fitted with five centrally graduated round molded mirrors, centered above a small birds-eye maple cabinet enclosed by two hinged doors, resting upon a molded scrolled platform overhanging a pierce-carved scrolling frieze, on two slender turned supports1, flanked on either side by a long narrow rectangular molded mirror fitted behind a serpentine-shaped shelf on two tall turned and carved supports, anchored by two small birds-eye maple cabinets each enclosed with a single wooden door, divided by a rectangular molded mirror, resting upon a molded rectangular plinth overhanging ogee-shaped bracket-feet with a serpentine-shaped valence, on metal castors. Perhaps paralleling the French cameo cut-back art glass of the period, vine-forms and leaves are cutback on the crest, the doors of the cabinets, and the bracket-shaped feet and valence; cut-out as fret-work on the frieze for the platform. Small triangular shaped panels of cameo-carved scrolling vines are nested around the mirrors of the crest.

A cameo-carved pair of small fanned leaf-forms suggesting those of the Japanese gekko-tree are connected bordering the long narrow mirrors. The cabinet doors are each bossed with two applied ovate shaped cameo-carved plaques of scrolling vines. The shelf-supports are each symmetrically ornamented at the top and the bottom with ring-and-baluster turning, enhancedby random vine cameo-carving on the balusters. The ogee-shaped bracket feet are cameo-carved on each surface with a large scrolling vine above a short scrolling vine; the feet are conjoined on each side, artistically designed to enclose “negative”-pace of a small circle above a trefoil-arch. The serpentine-shaped valence is adorned with two side-symmetric cameo-carved scrolling vines. Lastly, the frieze for the platform is decorated with scrolling vines piercing arched side panels and symmetrically cut-out in an ogee-molded panel across the front. The cabinets each have an overhanging molded top. Each cabinet door has a cast-brass pull molded as a short stick of bamboo on a short annulated shaft, mounted on a back-plate shaped with the conjoined vertically symmetric lotus floriforms.

Dating is late 19th Century to early 20th Century. Good overall condition. The mirrors are original, but the silvering is very worn on the round mirrors in the crest. The top of the plinth has some staining.

Measures 63" tall, 36" wide and 12" deep.

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