Thematic focus

« This new-born word is rococo » Généalogie et fortune du rococo aux États-Unis

Etienne Tornier

Published online:

30 Dec 2017

Abstract

Abstract

This article deals with the use of the term ‘rococo’ in the English language and more specifically in the United States, where it is today used to describe both the style of eighteenth-century cabinetmakers, and American mid-nineteenth-century furniture. Yet, the term was not favored by furniture makers and dealers before the end of the nineteenth century. Offering a precise analysis of the roots of the term in the United States, this article sheds light on its semantic evolution since the 1830s, through a variety of sources including newspapers, art journals, and ephemera, and in relation with the fluctuating taste of middle- and upper-class American households throughout the nineteenth century.

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