[New York. ca. 1920-1940]. Forty-two original works, from approximately 9 x 7 1/4 inches to 14 1/2 x 11 1/2 inches. Most on paper and mounted to cardboard backing, some executed on art board, some matted. Minor dust-soiling to some, several examples have pencil drawings of room layouts or floor plans on the verso, Hofstatter stamps on verso of two, a few examples detached from mount. Overall clean and in excellent condition, retaining vibrant coloring. Item #WRCAM49639
A stellar group of thirty-nine original watercolors and three original pencil drawings depicting early 20th-century furniture designs, largely in the French Provincial style. The artwork was executed by New York furniture designer and interior decorator Theodore Hofstatter, or artists working for his firm. The group includes wonderful depictions of mirrors, beds, window drapes, chairs, desks, bureaus, tables, and stands. Additionally, there are eleven works showing the interior design of various room settings.
Theodore Hofstatter succeeded his father in their New York City business of furniture design and construction, naming the firm Hofstatter's Sons when his brother Adolph joined him in the concern in the early 1870s. The Hofstatter family concentrated their efforts on building quality furniture at wholesale prices. In 1885, Theodore Hofstatter founded a branch of the business to focus on interior decorating, opening a separate location on Broadway near Twelfth Street. Eventually the business would move to at least two different addresses on Fifth Avenue, evidenced by Hofstatter labels affixed to the verso of several of the watercolors here (a few of these labels are also marked "Special Design" by Hofstatter). According to THE NATIONAL CYCLOPEDIA OF AMERICAN BIOGRAPHY (1894), Theodore's design business "kept abreast ever since [its opening] with the current of fashionable taste in illustrating, in the styles reproduced, all those characteristics with which the names inseparably connected with the history of the three Louis are essentially a part. Berain, Lebrun, Watteau, Andre, Charles Boule, have now a historical significance; Cailleri, Gouthiere, Reisener, Fragonard, Greuze, Boucher, Martin, and the rest, awaken a whole train of associations. It is through their influence, and such as theirs, that Theodore Hofstatter's designs possess the material to produce only those effects that can be truthfully termed good style." Hofstatter restricted his decorating contracts largely to commercial interests, furnishing the City Club, the Downtown Club, the Arkwright Club, and nine floors of the Hotel Savoy. He also cultivated a small group of private clients, one of whom was Cornelius Dresselhuys, Dutch consul to Great Britain. Two of Dresselhuys's rooms, the Entrance Hall and Vestibule, at 9 Kensington Palace Gardens in London are featured here in lovely full watercolors.
A fascinating group of artwork featuring furniture and interiors from a prominent New York City furniture maker and interior designer. Such original illustrations of furniture and interior decoration are, in our experience, quite scarce.