The Dutch Style Cupboards of New York and New Jersey 1650-1800. By Peter M. Kenny, Frances G. Safford, and Gilbert T. Vincent
This volume is published in conjunction with a 1991 exhibition of the same name. It focuses on the American incarnation of large cupboards called kasten, examples of a furniture form recognized since the beginning of the twentieth century as quintessentially Dutch in inspiration. Beginning in 1909, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has steadily acquired individual New York pieces by gift or purchase, and now owns one of the most comprehensive representations of the region's furniture. When this book was written, hardly any scholarly work had been done on kasten. Seventeenth-century joined oak furniture from the New York area was virtually unknown; the four rare examples discussed in the book provide a welcome point of comparison with better-known case furniture from New England. While the later Baroque-style kasten from the New York area are more familiar, these distinctive case pieces, too, despite the fact that they number well into the hundreds, had not been comprehensively studied. Additionally, the names of only two makers were known, examples from Connecticut had never been discussed, and a viable chronology and analyses of regional characteristics had been published only piecemeal. Confusion existed even over the terminology applied to this distinctive furniture form. The book's examination of the American kast is intended to fill a sizable gap in the study of American furniture.