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William Baumgarten & Co

2019-07-08 11:56:02
William Baumgarten Ateliers Mark in 1893

William Baumgarten & Co. was an interior design firm and the first American producer of Aubusson tapestries. The manufactory was active between 1893 and 1914.[1]


Design for a Baumgarten Tapestry in the 1890´s

In the 19th Century, the most important producer of tapestries in the world was the city of Aubusson, in France. It was there that Mr. Baumgarten found the Foussadier family who were taken to New York City to work in his company.[2] They had formerly worked at The Royal Windsor Tapestry Manufactory (1876-1890).[3] Antoine, Louis and Jean Foussadier handled the dying and loom work, whilst the females of the family, Madame Foussadier and her daughter Adrienne did all the needlework. By 1896 the factory had 40 artisans working full-time. Examples of Baumgarten Tapestries can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum of Art[2] and in the collections of the Vanderbilts, Rockefellers and Whitneys.

Interior design

Baumgarten was the designer of William Henry Vanderbilt's house on Fifth Avenue[4] and of William Welsh Harrison's Grey Towers Castle (which is now part of Arcadia University) in Philadelphia.[4] Baumgarten was also the original designer of several rooms at the Plaza Hotel in 1907 (including the Edwardian Room).[5]

In 1900 the price of a Baumgarten tapestry ranged from US$500 to US$1000 (equivalent to US$15,058 and US$30,116 in 2018).[6][7] In comparison, at that time the average yearly wage in the United States was US$438 and a school teacher earned US$328.


  1. ^ DeVillo, Stephen Paul (2015). "Baumgarten's Tapestries". The Bronx River in History & Folklore. Charleston, SC: The History Press. pp. 118–120. ISBN 1625854900.
  2. ^ a b Twomey, Bill (2007). The Bronx, in Bits and Pieces. Rooftop Publishing. p. 232. ISBN 1600080626.
  3. ^ "The Royal Windsor Tapestry Manufactory, 1876-1890: Extract from 1881 Census Form". The Royal Windsor Website. Thamesweb. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  4. ^ a b Campbell, Gordon, ed. (2006). "Baumgarten, William". The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts. Oxford University Press. p. 83. ISBN 0195189485.
  5. ^ Gaddy, James (January 2010). "The Plaza Hotel Renovated". TLC Magazine. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  6. ^ Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2019.
  7. ^ "Tapestry Workers Strike" (PDF). The New York Times. L (15827). 29 September 1900. p. 7. Retrieved 20 March 2016.