William Baumgarten & Co

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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 1910[1][2]


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.[3] They had formerly worked at The Royal Windsor Tapestry Manufactory (1876-1890).[4] 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.[3] and in the collections of the Vanderbilt´s, Rockfeller´s and Whitney´s.

Interior design[edit]

Baumgarten was the designer of William Henry Vanderbilt's house on Fifth Avenue[5] and of William Welsh Harrison's Grey Towers Castle (which has now become part of Arcadia University) in Philadelphia.[5] Baumgarten was also the original designer of several rooms at the Plaza Hotel in 1907 (including the Edwardian Room).[6] In the year 1900 the price of a Baumgarten Tapestry ranged from US$500 to US$1000,[7] at that time the average yearly wage in the United States was US$438 and a school teacher earned US$328 per year. According to the GDP Index a Baumgarten tapestry would cost today between 11,400 and 22,800 US dollars.


  1. ^ Fabric Tapestry, Donna McFadden
  2. ^ tapestry: technique and history Apocalypse, History of Troy, Acts of the Apostles, Battle of Pavia, Hunts of Maximilian
  3. ^ a b The Bronx: In Bits and Pieces By Bill Twomey, pg 232
  4. ^ "Master weaver Jean Foussadier from Aubusson at The Royal Windsor Tapestry Manufactory, 1876-1890 - The Royal Windsor Web Site by Thamesweb". Retrieved 20 March 2016. 
  5. ^ a b The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts
  6. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110717063552/http://tlc-mag.com/plaza_jan10.html. Archived from the original on July 17, 2011. Retrieved February 15, 2010.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "MR. WHITE ON BRYANISM - The Ambassador's Letter to German-American Republicans. His Reference to the Philippine Question - He Condemns the Following of Mr. Bryan. - View Article - NYTimes.com" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 2016-03-20.