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    Sale 2159

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

    21 April 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 269

    A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND BLACK LACQUER SECRETAIRE

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

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND BLACK LACQUER SECRETAIRE
    AFTER THE MODEL BY JEAN-HENRI RIESENER, THIRD QUARTER 19TH CENTURY
    The green and red campan marble top above a central door opening to a burl walnut-veneered pigeon-hole and four drawers, over a pair of cupboard doors opening to a shelved interior, the back right corner of the top stamped F. LEFRAN[C]/JME, the bottom right corner of the reverse stamped J.H. RIESENER/JME and insribed 57-23-2
    55 3/8 in. (140.5 cm.) high; 39 1/8 in. (100 cm.) wide; 17¾ in. (45 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

    Provenance

    Mr. and Mrs. W. Storr Wells, New York
    Mrs. Natalie Wells Peters, sold Anderson Galleries, New York, 12-14 November 1936, lot 482
    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


    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.