American Furniture & Decoration
Carswell Rush Berlin, Inc. is a private antique furniture dealer in New York City specializing exclusively in top quality American formal furniture and decorative accessories of the first forty years of the 19th century, referred to as the Classical period.
The first classical revival since the Renaissance, profoundly influencing European art, architecture and all the decorative and applied arts beginning in the 2nd quarter of the 18th century, began to effect American furniture design in the same years that the United States was becoming a nation, hence the terms “Federal” and “Classical” furniture. It was this taste for designs inspired by ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt, as translated from English and French furniture design directories and pattern books by American cabinetmakers, which created the longest lived, most popular, most influential and, arguably, the most important period of American creativity and craftsmanship in our furniture making history.
The mission of Carswell Rush Berlin is to bring to the market important high-style examples from this classical period of Adam, Directoire, Empire and French Restauration furniture made in America’s leading fashion and furniture-making centers, Salem, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore in the years 1800-1840. We focus on pieces ordered from the greatest designers and cabinetmakers by the wealthiest strata of American society of the period.
The firm’s approach is highly selective, only buying for inventory examples that meet a high standard of design excellence, craftsmanship, quality of materials, original condition and rarity.
We are continually seeking to buy period examples of every form that meet these standards and welcome photographs sent by e-mail.
Each piece is extensively researched with the description supplied in writing. We offer to our clients an unconditional guarantee that each piece is as described.
Mr. Berlin has lectured at New York University’s School of Continuing Education where he is an adjunct professor. Mr. Berlin offers a course at NYU each Spring on early 19th century American furniture. He has lectured at the Parsons School of Design in New York, the prestigious Williamsburg Forum, the Detroit Institute of Art, The Saint Louis Museum of Art, The Baltimore Museum of Art, Boscobel and the symposium on American Classical Furniture at the Yale University Art Gallery.
His furniture has been featured in The Magazine ANTIQUES, Architectural Digest, House & Garden, Art & Auction, and Veranda Magazine. His essay entitled “Solid and Permanent Grandeur: The Design Roots of American Classical Furniture” is featured in the show catalogue for the International Fine Art and Antique Dealers Show in NYC, October 18th-24th, 2002. His article “An Important Rosewood and Cast-Iron Gueridon Attributed to Duncan Phyfe” was published in The Magazine ANTIQUES, May 2000 issue (Vol. CLVII, NO. 5) pages 770-777. Mr. Berlin’s article “Classical Furniture in Federal Philadelphia” was published in Antiques & Fine Art Magazine, Spring 2007 vol. VII, Issue 5, p.192-199. Read the article online. His new article on the Philadelphia cabinetmakers COOK & PARKIN is planned for publication in 2012.
He is also writing a comprehensive guide to formal American furniture of the first half of the 19th century.
Mr. Berlin serves on the Board of Trustees of The Long Island Museum of American Art, History and Carriages, (formerly The Museums at Stony Brook) (NY) and Spoleto Festival USA (Charleston, S.C.) He is a member of the prestigious National Antiques and Art Dealers Association of America (NAADAA) and the Antique Dealers Association of America (ADA). A graduate of Kenyon College, he founded Carswell Rush Berlin, Inc. in 1992 to serve museums and collectors. The firm’s clients include:
The Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY)
Museum of Fine Arts , Boston (MA)
Colonial Williamsburg (Va)
The Columbus Museum (Ga)
The Governor’s Mansion of the State of Texas (Austin)
Peabody Essex Museum (Ma)
Museum of Fine Art/Houston (Tx)
The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Va)
The White House (DC)
Detroit Institute of Art (MI)
The Brooklyn Museum (NYC)
Gracie Mansion (NYC)