A movement in art in Germany and Austria, at its height in the 1820s, but conventionally dated between the historic years of 1815 and 1848. It was a conservative, simple, and elegant style, and was most prominent in furniture.
In German bieder means upright or worthy, but may also be used negatively to mean prosaic or philistine. A simple, homely character Papa Biedermeier appeared in humorous verses by Ludwig Eichrodt published in Fliegende Blätter. This name was first applied jokingly to the art style.
Biedermeier furniture developed from simplification of French Empire and Directoire with some influence from earlier English styles. It was utilitarian and attractive, made out of patterns of light-coloured wood contrasted with black lacquer, and where it had painted decoration this was based on folk art.
The lines were fairly straight in larger pieces, except for the way the feet would splay out in curves. Chairs however had a pronounced wasp waist. The exaggeration of this tendency in later years of the period detracted from the style, making it too baroque.
The painting of the period is rather sentimental, about the good life of the peasant and such like; and the writing didn't have the grand drama of the romantic movement.
Another spelling used is Biedermeyer.