These two original drawings may have been published as lithographs, since they are similar to other lithographic designs by Kimbel that appeared in a journal for cabinetmakers published in Mainz between 1835 and 1842. This possibility is also suggested by the fact that Kimbel signed his name with the Latin terms “fecit” (made by) and “del.” (abbreviation for “delineavit” or drawn by), terms that are generally associated with original designs for prints.
The term Biedermeier refers to a style that arose in German-speaking countries in the first half of the 19th century, specifically between 1814 and 1849. This was a period of political reform in which the middle class asserted itself against the authority of the aristocracy. The style was characterized by classical motifs such as columns, lyres, paw feet and other features carried forward from the neoclassical Louis XVI and Empire styles. Wood veneers — often mahogany or blond birch — were arranged with the grain matched to create symmetrical surface designs, sometimes highlighted by ebonized moldings. Biedermeier style has periodically been revived from the late 19th century to present.
Wilhelm Kimbel was a German furniture designer and cabinetmaker, an influential figure in the development of the Biedermeier style. He worked in Mainz, which was a center of furniture production in the German Southwest. Kimbel published his original designs as lithographs in the Journal für Möbelschreiner und Tapezierer [Journal for Cabinetmakers and Upholsterers] issued in Mainz between 1835 and 1842. Wilhelm Kimbel is sometimes confused in the scholarly literature with a later Wilhelm Kimbel (1868-1965), possibly one of his descendants. The latter, who was born after the publication years of Journal für Möbelschreiner, was an architect, painter and craftsman, known especially for his interior designs for major buildings in the first quarter of the 20th century.
Provenance: James Lamantia, Jr. (1923-2011). At the time of his death, Lamantia was Emeritus Professor of Architecture at Tulane University in New Orleans. He was also a practicing architect, and an artist.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. Scattered pale discolorations, unobtrusive. One drawing on slightly different paper than the other, with overall slightly different tone.
Cullison, William R. III, and Lamantia, James. An Eye for Architecture: Architectural and Decorative Drawings from the Collection of James Lamantia. New Orleans: Southeastern Architectural Archive, Tulane University Library, September 16 to October 31, 1984. Item 26B, pp. 28-29.
Leichter, Heinrich. “The True Biedermeier.” Ritter Antik. http://www.ritterantik.com/ritter_antique_worth_knowing.php (15 October 2012).
“Sale: 397 / Rare Books, Nov. 19./20. 2012.” Ketterer Kunst. http://www.kettererkunst.com/details-e.php?obnr=411202200&anummer=397 (12 October 2012).
Schwabe, Konrad. “Wilhelm Kimbel.” Lexikon: Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf von A bis Z. http://www.berlin.de/ba-charlottenburg-wilmersdorf/bezirk/lexikon/kimbel.html (2 October 2012).