Extraordinary Elegance:
Nathan Lumbard’s Desk-and-Bookcase

May 11–November 25, 2018
The Godfrey American Art Wing, Level 2, Gallery K230

Desk-and-Bookcase brings the artistry and craftsmanship of the Massachusetts-based cabinetmaker Nathan Lumbard (1777–1847) into focus. The incomparable work, upon its rediscovery, was described as “extraordinary” and is placed in context through the display of similarly designed and dated objects from the collection.

Lumbard’s cabinet has been the source of speculation since it was acquired for the Layton Art Collection, in 1996. Purchased at auction, it had puzzling inscriptions, and even whether Lumbard had made it was uncertain. Research continues to provide new information about the object. In fact, Lombard was corrected to Lumbard in the last few months—evidence of the evolving nature of museum connoisseurship and our understanding of artists and their work.

Presenting Sponsor: Milwaukee Art Museum’s Collectors’ Corner in honor of its 70th anniversary

Programs + Events

Lecture: Would You Buy Art If You Won the Lottery?

Thursday, September 20, 6:15 PM

Hear about Nathan Lumbard and how a lottery win led to the commission of Desk-and-Bookcase, with Brock Jobe, professor emeritus of American decorative arts, Winterthur Museum, Delaware. Jobe will sign copies of his new book Crafting Excellence: The Furniture of Nathan Lumbard and His Circle, available at the Museum Store.

Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Extraordinary Elegance: Nathan Lumbard's Desk-and-Bookcase.

Lubar Auditorium
Free for Members
Free with Museum admission

Program Sponsor: Layton Art Collection Inc.

  • Nathan Lumbard, Desk-and-Bookcase, 1800–02. Cherry, mahogany banding, light and dark wood inlay, and white pine. Layton Art Collection Inc., Purchase, Virginia Booth Vogel Acquisition Fund, L1996.1a–c. Photo by John R. Glembin.