Design Glossary: Biedermeier style

Biedermeier style (1815-1830) came about after the end of the Napoleonic wars in Germany, Denmark and Austria as a turning away from the French inspired over-the-top Rococo style. There was no Biedermeier; the name came from a combination of names that sifted down to mean Beider (Plain) + Meier (common German name, think Smith). Furniture for every day people, the bourgeoisie.

The Invention of Simplicity—an exhibition which started at the Milwaukee Art Museum and is currently at the Albertina, in Vienna—includes a settee made around 1820 in Austria with maple and mahogany veneers. The futuristic-looking seat floats atop a lightly gilded claw-foot base.

This simple Austrian walnut stool was made around 1820.

Klismos also reflects the row of overlapping semicircles found on this
early maple-veneer occasional chair, or “Laufsessel,” made in south Germany.

The curvaceous table was made in Vienna at the height of the
Bieder­meier era out of precious walnut veneer.


Living Room of Alexander von Fahnenberg at Wilhelmstrasse 69, Berlin (1837/38),
by Stephanie von Fahnenberg, provides a glimpse of how people in the
Biedermeier period fashioned their interior spaces.

All furniture should be so plain, no?

All Biedermeier style images courtesy of Milwaukee Art Museum.

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