- Serafín Antonio Almeida, Venezuelan, 1752 - 1822
- Born: Guatire
Serafín Antonio Almeida, Butaca Armchair, 1795–1800. Cedar veneered in gateado and carreto woods with fabric upholstery; 49 × 30⅜ × 31½ in. Gift of Patricia Phelps de Cisneros in honor of Rafael Romero, 2017.121.
This easy chair, a low armchair with a tall, inclined back, was a furnishing for personal use and was destined for the most intimate spaces of colonial homes; those in which rigid Spanish etiquette, which required an erect posture when seated, could be cast aside. Its form is unique to the New World and derives from a small, typical ceremonial seat called ture, used by the pre-Columbian cultures of the Caribbean. The name butaca comes from the word putaca, seat, in the language of the Cumanagoto Indians of the northeastern coast of Venezuela. In this butaca, which dates from the late 18th century, the traditional typology of the easy chair is adorned with the fine neoclassical inlaid marquetry work typical of Serafín Antonio Almeida, the maker of the piece.
– Jorge Rivas Pérez, Frederick and Jan Mayer Curator of Latin American Art, 2017