Furniture art in the Upper Rhine region in the period between 1750 and 1850 reflects the political and economic conditions of the individual dominions determined by the end of the Ancien Regime and the beginning of the new bourgeois era.
In this field of tension of a profound social change between absolutism and bourgeoisie, existing centres of arts and crafts disintegrated or new ones emerged. Mannheim lost its dominance and Karlsruhe joined the ranks of the flourishing manufacturing cities.
Despite regional differences, commonalities are always noticeable. The two cities oriented themselves towards the generally binding standards of furnishing and style that prevailed in the most important European centres.
While, alongside Paris, London with its simple and elegant products became a model towards the end of the 18th century, Napoleonic Paris took on a leading role at the beginning of the 19th century with its austere and monumental works. But the great German manufactory of Roentgen in Neuwied, known for its deliveries to numerous European courts and the high nobility, also influenced courtly furniture art in the Upper Rhine region with its technical refinements and elaborate designs. Around 1800, the strict and simple design, the functional form and the clean, solid workmanship were particularly appreciated in Mannheim and Karlsruhe. When adopting modern forms, however, individual design was always striven for.
A diversity of styles characterised the new Grand Duchy of Baden, which also provided the craftsmen in the annexed Electoral Palatinate with commissions. For this reason, the furniture art of the two arts and crafts regions on the Upper Rhine can vividly portray tradition and progress and draw attention to conflicts in the history of style.