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    Sale 2159

    19th Century Furniture, Sculpture, Works of Art and Ceramics

    21 April 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 268

    A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND GILT-DECORATED BLACK LACQUER COMMODE

    AFTER THE MODEL BY JEAN-HENRI RIESENER, THIRD QUARTER 19TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND GILT-DECORATED BLACK LACQUER COMMODE
    AFTER THE MODEL BY JEAN-HENRI RIESENER, THIRD QUARTER 19TH CENTURY
    The green and red campan marble top above a central door opening to two interior shelves, the back left corner of the top stamped J.H. RIESENER/F. LEFRAN[C], the front left corner stamped J.H. RIESENER/JME, the reverse of the carcass inscribed 57-23-1
    38 5/8 in. (98 cm.) high; 59 in. (150 cm.) wide; 18½ in. (47 cm.) deep


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    This magnificent sécretaire and its companion commode are faithful reproductions of Jean-Henri Riesener's celebrated suite of furniture commissioned in 1783 for Marie Antoinette's cabinet intérieur at Saint-Cloud. The originals, now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, are among the highlights of the Museum's collection and are considered to be the 'jewel in the crown' of Riesener's oeuvre.

    In his book Les Bronzes Dorés du XVIII Siècle, Pierre Verlet initially suspects that the present commode and sécretaire are possibly by the hand of Riesener, as they appeared to him to be of almost identical beauty, casting and construction. However, it is upon further inspection that Verlet becomes unnerved to find that these pieces lack the MA Garde Meuble stamp as well as the subsequent Saint-Cloud inventory marks which would secure manufacture and authorship. Additionally, both pieces bear the stamp of F. LeFran[c], a previously unrecorded ébéniste, though Verlet supposes they were executed during the reign of Napoleon III. While the markings on these pieces certainly stir speculation with regard to firm attribution, the quality of the craftsmanship, while undoubtedly 19th century, is an homage to Riesener's mastery in the 18th century.

    Provenance

    Mr. and Mrs. W. Storr Wells, New York
    Mrs. Natalie Wells Peters, sold Anderson Galleries, New York, 12-14 November 1936, lot 481
    Augustus van Horne Stuyvesant, New York, sold O'Reilly's Plaza Galleries, 18 November 1953
    With Dalva Brothers, New York, 1954
    Private Collection, San Francisco
    Gift to present owner, 1957


    Saleroom Notice

    Please note that the height was incorrectly printed in the catalogue. The height is 38 5/8 inches, which is equivalent to 98 centimeters.


    Pre-Lot Text

    PROPERTY OF THE FINE ARTS MUSEUMS OF SAN FRANCISCO, SOLD TO BENEFIT THE ACQUISITION FUND (LOTS 268 & 269)


    Literature

    P. Verlet, Les Bronzes Dorés du XVIII Siècle, Paris, 1987, pp. 370-373.