My appreciation of the new sideboard is increasing daily, it seems. In part I think its because I am enjoying the research which has included a trip to the National Library and a couple of hours leafing through dusty tomes for clues . Years of art history education, of which I did a little bit of decorative and furniture design, are starting to be teased from my brain. I remember some of the names and the more I learn, little tidbits come back to me.
The one thing I wish some of my art history lecturers had done was drag us out of the lecture hall and into the “live” environment. This did happen a little bit in Santa Barbara, we would occasionally do field trips to such institutions as the Getty (stop my fluttering heart), but we never- in my recollection- looked at how some of the designs and styles were integrated into modern life or modern culture. I think it would have been very interesting to have looked at film sets in movies for examples of A, B and C. But even an art history major has an element of the homogenous- art has been coupled to the entire history of man and admittedly twentieth century design was one building block often shadowed by the fine art of painting.
I am currently reading a book called Classic Modern: Midcentury Modern at Home written by Deborah K. Dietsch. The photographs are gorgeous, showcasing the idealized environments in a number of American homes from Monticello to Conneticut. They are all grand examples.
Back to the mystery sideboard there was a little breakthrough last night, a new piece in the puzzle. Whilst I had inspected the piece from many different angles, it occurred to me last night to look underneath the drawers and to check the joints. I was thrilled on two counts- the dovetail joints indicated superior craftsmanship (and confirmed the cabinet was as high quality as I thought) and beneath the silverware drawer I found an elegantly scrawled date- February 1967. Whilst it was made a decade later than I thought, it confirmed the sideboard (or “credenza”) is definitely Midcentury Danish Modern. It was like playing my own little game of Antiques Roadshow.
Moreover, I have learnt so much about the houses in our area which were built in the 1970s. I have come to appreciate that some of the Japanese styles light fixtures in our own home- which were very popular during the time- probably haven’t been replaced in 40 odd years. The sideboard has definitely found the right home.
Now, I just have to figure out how to childproof it!
For anyone interested in this era of furniture design, I have found some great websites: