The second work of Charles Rohlfs that I was fortunate enough to see on my recent visit to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is his Tall Case Clock.
Among the various arts and crafts era furniture designers and makers Rohlfs is less known. As I mentioned in my first blog, I find Charles Rohlfs work very unique and dramatic. There is nothing ordinary about Rohlfs work. So I am taking this opportunity to share his work with you.
The tall case clock is situated next to Rohlfs 1898 desk chair in the Amercian Wing – Gallery 743.
The clock sits on a simple box base that includes decorative metal hinges. A triangular knob sits on top of decorative metal escutcheon that frames the top corner of the door.
The tapered midsection rises from the base. The triangular knob from the base is repeated here. A tear dropped shaped fretwork adorns the middle section and is one of the dramatic elements of the clock. This type of elaborate (perhaps ornate) carving and fretwork is a hallmark of Rohlfs furniture.
At the top and bottom of the midsection there are decorative gussets. I think the clock could do without these and may “photoshop” them out of a picture to see how the clock looks. But these decorative elements are a big part of what Rohlfs was about.
For me the simple but striking clock face is what sets this clock apart from others. It really pops! Most clock faces are framed in a circular ring. Rohlfs dispenses with framing the clock face. To me, the clock face creates an image of moons orbiting a planet.
Even though this clock was built over 100 years ago it still has a striking and modern look to it.
I’m about two weeks away from finishing my Maloof style rocker and starting work on another Rohlfs chair his Tall Back chair. While in New York my wife and I took a day to visit the Princeton University Art Musuem where this chair is on display. I share some of the pictures of that chair next.
-- Peter, Woodbridge, Ontario