How to Shop for American Classical Furniture

If you are a beginning collector or would like to learn more before you buy, you might wonder where to start.  We could offer the following advice.

The best way to learn is to visit art museums and historic house museums. The following museums all have excellent American decorative arts and furniture collections:  The Metropolitan Museum’s American Wing, the Brooklyn Museum, the Museum or Fine Arts, Boston, the Philadelphia Museum or Art, Winterthur Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the National Gallery of Art, Bayou Bend, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Peabody Essex Museum, Colonial Williamsburg and the Art Institute of Chicago.

Historic houses open to the public where great American Classical furniture can be seen in historic settings include: Boscobel, the Bartow-Pell Mansion Museum, Rose Hill, AndalusiaGore PlaceHomewood at Johns HopkinsHampton National Historic SiteMillford PlantationEdmonston-Alston HouseAndrew Jackson’s Hermitage, the Owens-Thomas House and Andrew Low House.

Additionally, we recommend many of the excellent books that have been published over the past twenty-five years, including:

  • Wendy Cooper’s Classical Taste in America
  • Alexandra Kirtley’s Classical Splendor: Painted Furniture for a Grand Philadelphia House
  • Peter Kenny’s Honoré Lannuier: Cabinetmaker from Paris and Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York
  • Robert Mussey and Clark Pearce’s Rather Elegant than Showy: The Classical Furniture of Isaac Vose
  • Richard Hampton Jenrette’s Adventures With Old Houses
  • Berry Tracy’s Federal Furniture and Decorative Arts at Boscobel
  • Our own essay, “Solid and Permanent Grandeur: The Design Roots of American Classical Furniture” is the best, concise introduction to the period.

We are available to help you understand the fine details that mark outstanding examples.  Just give us a call and let us share our knowledge.

HOW TO SHOP WITH US

Whether you are an experienced collector or just learning about fine early American furniture, we are eager to talk with you, to learn about your interests and how you might use any piece from our inventory.  We can also tell you as much as you would like to know about our period of expertise and what makes each piece special.  We can help you learn how to be knowledgeable about this wonderful material.

All of our pieces are unconditionally guaranteed to be as described, but there is no substitute for seeing and feeling them in person.  Unless you are far from New York City, we encourage you to visit us at our arts storage facility, Bourlet/Art Logistics, minutes from the 59th Street (Ed Koch-Queensboro) Bridge in Long Island City (Queens), NY.

While the warehouse is, well…a warehouse, there is a clean, well lighted show room where we can display furniture and you can examine pieces you have selected to see at your leisure. We encourage clients to look closely and ask questions.

If you would rather forgo the pleasure of a trip to Long Island City, we can deliver most items “on approval” in the NY Metro area if you cover the trucking and handling fees in both directions if the item is returned.  We are happy to work with your trucker too.

We are also pleased to announce that, beginning in July, we have taken a booth in The Gallery at 200 LEX in the New York Design Center at 200 Lexington Avenue, floor 10, (at 32nd Street). A sampling of our inventory can be seen in booth 60B Mon.-Fri., 9:00-5:00.

HOW TO BUY WITH US

We accept personal checks.  We offer a discount to the trade and we have been known to offer discounts to first-time buyers as well as to regular clients.  We have, when the situation calls for it, offered dating.  We urge you to tell us what you need to consummate a deal and we will do whatever we can to make it happen.

We look forward to your call!

My best,

Carlie Berlin
646 645-0404 mobile

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