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A LATE LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND JAPANESE LACQUER COMMODE
A LATE LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND JAPANESE LACQUER COMMODE
A LATE LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND JAPANESE LACQUER COMMODE
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A LATE LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND JAPANESE LACQUER COMMODE
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Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more
A LATE LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND JAPANESE LACQUER COMMODE

BY JOSEPH BAUMHAUER, CIRCA 1765-70

Details
A LATE LOUIS XV ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND JAPANESE LACQUER COMMODE
BY JOSEPH BAUMHAUER, CIRCA 1765-70
The rectangular top with incurved sides with white veined marble top above ten variously arranged Japanese lacquer drawers, the sides with cupboard doors, the interior veneered in bois satiné and amaranth on angled bracket feet, the angles with acanthus and fluting, stamped JOSEPH
35 ½ in. (90.5 cm.) high, 58 in. (147.5 cm.) wide, 23 ½ in. (60 cm.) deep
Provenance
Marie-Julie-Camphile-Berthe de Béhague (1868-1940), according to Segoura invoice.
Acquired from Maurice Segoura, Paris.
Literature
T. Wolvesperges, Le Meuble Français en Laque au XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1999, p. 83, no. 62.
Special Notice

Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.

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Lot Essay

Joseph Baumhauer, known as Joseph, ébeniste privilégié du Roi circa 1749.
This majestic commode of sweeping form and with sumptuous gilt-bronze mounts, ingeniously incorporates the central drawers and inner structure from a precious 17th century Japanese lacquer cabinet. It is part of a select and luxurious group of commodes by Joseph featuring Japanese lacquer, which was the most costly and sought after type of lacquer among enlightened connoisseurs in the 18th century.
RELATED EXAMPLES
The commodes by Joseph which relate most closely to this example are:
-an example with Vitruvian scroll frieze formerly in the collection of the Earls of Warwick, Warwick Castle, and now in a private collection (illustrated in A. Pradère, Les Ebénistes Français de Louis XIV à la Revolution, Paris, 1989, p. 241, fig. 247)
-a simpler example sold from the Espirito Santo collection; Christie's, London, 12 December 1996, lot 126
-an example in a private collection, closely related to the Warwick commode but with straight rather than out-curving sides
-a further example , still owned by the family to whom it was supplied, described in an inventory in 1783 as: 'Une autre commode à dix tiroirs deux panneaux de coté le tout de laque noir à paysages orné de moulures dorés d'ormolu avec un dessus de marbre portor 880 livres' and probably that illustrated in Connaissance des Arts, 1967, p. 70 (also cited Pradère op. cit., p. 244, cat. 15)
THE TASTE FOR LACQUER
The ingenious and luxurious use of Chinese and Japanese lacquer to decorate pieces of Parisian furniture was the result of the inventiveness of the luxury taste-makers of Paris, the marchand-merciers, who had a monopoly on importing luxury goods such as lacquer and porcelain from Asia and responded with extraordinary imaginativeness to the passion for chinoiserie among collectors throughout the 18th century.
The marchand Hébert possessed: 'Une petite commode de 3 pieds 4 pouces de long garnie de 10 tiroirs de verny de la Chine 120 livres' in his shop as early as 1724, while on the 16 May 1750 Lazare Duvaux delivered to Madame de Pompadour: 'Une commode composée de tiroirs d'ancien lacque garnie de bronze doré d'ormolu avec le marbre d'Antin, 864 livres', which is probably the commode subsequently recorded at Saint Ouen in 1764. Likewise, Darnault commissioned BVRB's talents to execute a similar commode which is now in the Louvre (Musée du Louvre, OA 11 745).
Finally, in the 1775 inventory taken following the death of the wife of the prolific marchand Racinel de la Planche, who specialised in lacquer, there is recorded: 'Un corps de commode à 10 tiroirs de lacque noir et or, le corps plaqué en ébéne et cannelures avec cadres et anneaux de bronze doré son dessus de marbre portor 360 livres'. All of these examples must have paralleled the form of the commode offered here.
JOSEPH BAUMHAUER
Of German origin, Joseph Baumhauer was one of the most accomplished and innovative cabinet-makers of the 1750s and 1760s, whose oeuvre reached a level of refinement few of his confrères could rival. He married in Paris in 1747 and was appointed ébéniste privilegié du Roi around 1749. Established in the rue du faubourg Saint Antoine at the sign of the 'Boule Blanche', it seems that his oeuvre was commissioned exclusively by marchands-merciers. Indeed Hébert, Heceguerre, Duvaux, Julliot, Héricourt, Darnault and Poirier are all known to have employed him. He was deeply involved in the revolutionary and avant garde furniture in the new goût grec style which emerged in the late 1750s, and it was he who supplied the ground-breaking suite of furniture to Ange Laurent Lalive de Jully in 1757, including the extraordinary center table, offered as lot 111 in this sale.
His mounts are of the most refined quality of casting and chasing, with a consistent suppleness and subtlety, leading to the possibility that he retained his own bronzier in his workshop. Indeed certain bronzes frequently recur in his oeuvre, for instance the delicate acanthus volute angle mounts on this commode are closely related to those on perhaps his greatest masterpiece, the commode with Japanese lacquer supplied through the marchand-mercier Simon-Philippe Poirier to the Marquis de Marigny, Madame de Pompadour’s brother, in 1766 (illustrated in Pradère op. cit., pp. 236-7, fig. 240) and such chutes also feature on the suite of furniture supplied to the marquis de Biron, also through Poirier, circa 1770-1775 and now in the Louvre (Pradère op.cit.,p. 238, figs. 241-2).
THE PROVENANCE
When sold by Segoura, the provenance of this commode was given as the Comtesse de Béhague. This is likely to refer to the celebrated collector, philanthropist and saloniste Marie-Julie-Pamphile-Berthe de Béhague, (1868-1940), who in 1887 married Charles, marquis de Ganay. Their glittering array of residences included an tel at 9, Avenue de l’Alma (now the Avenue George V), which they commissioned from the architect Ernest Sanson from 1896-1898, and the Château de Courances, whose park she restored to its former glory, including the addition of an Anglo-Japanese garden. Her sister Martine-Marie-Pol de Béhague, comtesse de Béarn (1869-1939), the subject of a forthcoming book, was also an extraordinary and passionate collector, who numbered among her dazzling artistic circle of friends the painter Paul Helleu, the composer Gabriel Fauré and the poets Paul Valéry and Paul Verlaine.


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