The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs
A protean artist, actor, and furniture maker dedicated to the primacy of individual expression, Charles Rohlfs (1853–1936) called his unprecedented designs “artistic furniture.” This exhibition—the first major survey of his work—presents over 40 pieces of his furniture and related objects in the context of groundbreaking new research. With roots in the “art for art’s sake” theories of Aesthetic movement, Rohlfs’s virtuosic carving and imaginative silhouettes relate to Art Nouveau, combined with a wide range of international design traditions. His innovations influenced the pared-down oak forms of the Arts and Crafts movement. Combining design motifs in remarkably inventive ways, Rohlfs created furniture like none other, whose story and legacy contribute a new chapter to the history of American design.
The Artistic Furniture of Charles Rohlfs is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Chipstone Foundation, and American Decorative Art 1900 Foundation. Major support for Carnegie Museum of Art’s presentation is provided by The Henry L. Hillman Fund and the Virginia Kaufman Fund. General support for the exhibition program at Carnegie Museum of Art is provided by The Heinz Endowments, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and Allegheny Regional Asset District.