Rustic Furniture (German: Bauernmoebel), common name designating furniture used in rural areas in pre-industrial times. Rustic furniture is neither attributed to peasant amateur art, nor is its use restricted to the peasant milieu.
The earliest objects, which from the technical point of view are for the greatest part carpenter's work, date back to the late Middle Ages. They are mostly pieces of furniture used for storage (e.g. trunks Almer). It was only when techniques were found to heat rooms without creating smoke inside, i.e. when the Stube (rural type of parlour) was introduced, and therefore home furnishing became more differentiated, that more sophisticated joinery work (with carvings and sparingly used colouring) could be used in domestic buildings.
Reliance on elements typical of period furniture is evidenced by the fact that furniture types were taken over from high culture, such as wardrobes, sideboards, canopied beds and easy chairs. The dependence on high culture becomes even clearer in the use of ornamentation, which frequently served as a basis for regional styles. If the region was blessed with economic prosperity, such styles tended to remain popular for a long time and thus acquire "traditional" status. There is evidence that these styles were closely connected with individual ateliers and their traditions, especially in the provinces of Upper Austria and Tirol (e.g. the styles of the Alpbach and Zillertal valleys), and in the Pinzgau region. Painted furniture was crafted in the Baroque, Rococo and Empire traditions especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, e.g. 2-door wardrobes where each door was horizontally partitioned into 2 sections, beds with tall headboards. Proprietors' names and dates on such pieces of furniture indicate that they were made for a special purpose, namely as part of a bride's dowry. Intensive colouring and the combination of different style and motive traditions in rustic furniture, as in the Tirolean Lower Inn Valley and the lands along the Danube, are design features and forms typical of the end of an era when folk art ( Popular Art ) was still based on the lifestyle of the peasantry.
The most significant Austrian collections of rustic furniture can be found at the Tirolean Folk Art Museum in Innsbruck, in the Upper Austrian provincial museum in Linz, in the Austrian Folklore Museum (Oesterreichisches Museum fuer Volkskunde) in Vienna and its branch in Schlossmuseum Gobelsburg (province of Lower Austria, Weinviertel region).
Literature#K. Beitl, Landmoebel, 1976; B. Deneke, B. Ein Handbuch fuer Sammler und Liebhaber, 1969; F. Lipp, Oberoesterreichische Bauernmoebel, 1986; O. Moser, Kaerntn. Bauernmoebel (= Carinthia I, vol. 134-140), 1949; L. Schmidt, Bauernmoebel aus Sued-Deutschland, Oesterreich und der Schweiz, 1977.