A GERMAN ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY CHAIR
A GERMAN ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY CHAIR

ATTRIBUTED TO DAVID ROENTGEN, CIRCA 1785

Details
A GERMAN ORMOLU-MOUNTED MAHOGANY CHAIR
ATTRIBUTED TO DAVID ROENTGEN, CIRCA 1785
The tapering back with arched toprail and stylised 'caduceus' splat carved with entwined snakes about a central staff with milleraies panel, above an oval seat with deep, olive-green leather-covered, fixed squab, the seat-rails with bead-edged panels, on turned fluted tapering legs, the frame numbered 'IX' in several places, the underside of the pad inscribed in red crayon '...15216 nr3' and with remnants of blue-crayon-inscribed paper label
36 in. (91.5 cm.) high; 22 in. (56 cm.) wide; 19 ¾ in. (50.5 cm.) deep
Provenance
With Daxer & Marschall, Munich, where acquired by the current owner.
Literature
COMPARATIVE LITERATURE:
D. Fabian, Abraham und David Roentgen. Von der Schreinerwerkstatt zur Kunstmöbel-Manufaktur, Bad Neustadt/Saale, 1992, p. 45, fig. 91.
D. Fabian, Abraham und David Roentgen, Bad Neustadt/Saale, 1996, p. 235.
C. Baulez, ‘David Roentgen et François Rémond, une collaboration dans l’histoire du mobillier Européen’, L'Estampille/L'Objet d'Art, September 1996, pp. 97-118
W. Koeppe, exhibition catalogue, Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens, New York, 2012, pp. 178-9, no. 53.

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Lot Essay

David Roentgen (1843-1807), maître in 1780, Ebèniste-mécanicien to Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.
The chair either produced in Roentgen’s Neuwied workshop or in Paris under the supervision of his agent, Jean Gottlieb Frost (1746-1814), maître 1785 or by Frost (to Roentgen’s design) after he took over Roentgen’s Paris operation in 1785. The gilt-bronze mounts, possibly supplied by the Parisian maître-doreur François Rémond (c.1747-1812).

This exceptional chair was produced using the finest dense mahogany embellished with superb ormolu-mounts; the richly carved tablet back embellished with Hermes’ caduceus is a perfect example of the bold neoclassical style developed and employed by Roentgen following the establishment of his Paris operation in 1780. It belongs to a distinguished small group of chairs which are all close variants of this design. One armchair from this group, similarly mounted, but lacking the serpents to the back-rest, whilst retaining the central staff, was sold at Christie’s and subsequently included in the seminal 2012 Roentgen exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, New York (anonymous sale, Christie’s London, 12 December 1996, lot 212, £41,100 & Koeppe, op. cit.). Furthermore the New York catalogue entry relates specific design details (common to that chair and this) - the disc ornaments and beaded-panels above channelled tapering legs - to a duchesse from the estate of David Roentgen himself and cites another, this time with serpents (as here), which was formerly part of the collection of the marquise de Vibraye (ibid. and Baulez, op. cit.). The Vibraye chair was sold; Property from the Collection of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman: The London Residence; Sotheby’s New York, 28 April 2010, lot 313 ($116,500). It is interesting to note that this chair is constructed with the front legs bolted in place, an ingenious feature present on other Roentgen furniture by this date, for further discussion on this and on the collaboration between Roentgen, Frost and Rémond, see catalogue note lot 87.
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