Country Chair with Marquetry I
This 19th-century German chair by craftsman Jochim Albers is exemplary of the art of marquetry. Marquetry, also known as inlaid work, is the craft of forming decorative patterns, pictures, or designs out of pieces of hand-carved wood veneer. In its long history, this craft has been applied to multiple wood-based works, including furniture, jewelry boxes, and panel pieces. The art of inlaid work became popular amongst German cabinet makers in the early 18th century and was primarily used to elevate the appearance of furniture. Inlaid work effectively stands out from the rest of a wooden base by using different coloured veneer pieces. Colour can vary depending on the staining technique or the source of wood used, such as applying light coloured boxwood and dark coloured ebony to create contrast. Although most country-style chairs are defined as purely functional folk-art pieces, Jochim Albers enhances his craft with elegant hand-carved additions. The artist’s delicate marquetry of an overflowing straw basket of flowers and birds adorns the centre of the back splat, while his signature and the date of creation frame the design in detailed inlayed handwriting. The chair itself is simple in construction, yet subtle design elements, such as its swirl finials crowning the ears and the two-tiered stretchers on the legs of the chair, enrich its form. This piece is one of three in the collection from the same craftsman.
At this time in Germany, limestone miners discovered strange fossils in 1856, inside the Neandertal Valley. The fossils were given to paleoanthropologist Johann Carl Fuhlrott (1803–1877) and anatomist Hermann Schaaffhausen (1816–1893) who announced the find in 1857. It was determined that these remains were not from homo sapiens, but an entirely different, extinct, early human species. The species was named “Neanderthal”, after the valley where the first recognized remains were found.