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Empire Style in the collection


 Les Armes de l'Empire (tapisserie des Gobelins)., Digital ID 1167885, New York Public LibraryOur former trustee, the late Bill Blass, once confided in me that he really loved the Empire Style. I remember the apologetic tone in particular, for he told me this in the early 1990s when the style was very out of fashion. The NYPL has a magnificent collection of Napoleona salted through the various divisions. One particular treasure is in the Spencer Collection, a four volume work on Empire Style furniture.

A scholar who got it right about the style is Madeleine Deschamps, whose Empireis a wonderful source for the mode. Check out the bibliography, compare it with NYPL holdings, and you will be suitably impressed. A gratifying element in the “Decoration in the Age of Napoleon” exhibition here at NYPL was all the people who came out of the woodwork to say “I didn’t know you had this kind of stuff here!”


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