A LATE LOUIS XVI MAHOGANY CANAPE
A LATE LOUIS XVI MAHOGANY CANAPE
A LATE LOUIS XVI MAHOGANY CANAPE
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Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more
A LATE LOUIS XVI MAHOGANY CANAPE

CIRCA 1785-1790

Details
A LATE LOUIS XVI MAHOGANY CANAPE
CIRCA 1785-1790
En suite with the previous lot, with loose cushion seat
77 in. (195.5 cm.) long
Provenance
Jacques Doucet; Galerie Georges Petit, Paris, 7 June 1912, lot 295 (part of a larger suite).
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

Georges Jacob, maître in 1765.
THE DESIGN
This remarkable suite of seat furniture, with its à l’antique form and beautifully carved, delicate classical detailing, is a pure expression of the gout étrusque of the late 1780s. Its form and decoration are closely related to a celebrated suite of furniture designed by the painter Hubert Robert and executed by Georges Jacob in 1785 for the dairy at the château de Rambouillet. That suite, executed in solid mahogany, included chairs, armchairs, folding stools and tables, the chairs featuring similar outscrolling backs carved with bold anthemia. This style was strongly influenced by ancient Roman forms discovered as a result of excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum in the second half of the 18th century. The taste for objects à l'antique and à l'étrusque was promoted by numerous sophisticated collectors and artists who, having visited the excavation sites, brought with them an unprecedented enthusiasm for ancient art and objects. Artists such as Charles-Louis Clérisseau, Jacques-Louis David, Antonio Canova, architects and designers such as François Joseph Bélanger and Jean-Demosthène Dugourc, writers like Johann Joachim Winckelmann, and Sir William Hamilton, whose great collection of ancient vases was termed Etruscan, contributed to the interest for ancient culture. Furniture was Etruscan whether it was inspired by ancient Rome or Greece, and the term was used as freely to simply signify objects à l'antique. Georges Jacob was one of the first furniture makers to boldly borrow from ancient examples. The sophisticated and innovative forms of his seat furniture were often conceived under the informed guidance of Jacques-Louis David or, as in the case of the Rambouillet suite, Hubert Robert. Robert and Jacob also collaborated on similar avant garde furniture for Jean-Joseph de Laborde, Marquis de Méréville, including an ormolu-mounted daybed of similar outscrolled form with palmettes, sold Christie’s, New York, 21 May 1996, lot 291.The sphinx arm supports are a particular leitmotif of Jacob’s oeuvre and appear on a further fauteuil in the Mobilier National, referred to in E. Dumonthier, Les Sièges de Georges Jacob, 1922. The design of these chairs also follows closely a drawing in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (illustrated here) by Jean-Demosthène Dugourc (1749-1825), an influential ornemaniste and one of the key promoters of the gout étrusque at both the French and Spanish royal courts.
JACQUES DOUCET AND THE SALE OF THE CENTURY
This remarkable suite was also part of the collection of the couturier Jacques Doucet, one of the most celebrated and iconic collectors of the 20th century. Born into a fashion 'milieu', he launched one of the first Paris haute couture 'maisons'. His success lasted from the late 19th century until the 1920s, constantly evolving and adapting to new styles. His professional and commercial success enabled him to acquire an extraordinary collection of French 18th century furniture and works of art, a testimony to his knowledge, taste and discerning eye. The masterpieces he purchased, included the 'Bulles de savon' by Chardin, the 'Feu aux poudre' by Fragonard, but also numerous sculptures by Caffieri, Houdon, Lemoyne and Clodion
These fauteuils are visible in an interior photograph of Doucet's hôtel in the rue Spontini, which had been designed for Doucet by the architect Louis Parent, with interiors by Georges Hoentschel. They were placed along large columns in the hall, accompanied by vases in pietra dura, antique busts and, in a niche, the sculpture Deux Jeunes Femmes portant un plateau chargé de fruits, now in the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The Doucet sale in 1912, with a total of 13 884 460 francs for nearly four hundred lots, was called the 'vente du siècle', with a veritable who’s who of celebrities, dealers and collectors in the room including: David Weill, Ernest Cognacq, Henri de Rothschild, Oscar Stettiner, and Jules Ephrussi, while the American contingent included Mortimer Schiff, Mrs Pierpont-Morgan, Mrs Potter Palmer, Joseph Duveen and Jacques Seligmann, who had opened a gallery in New York in 1904.
Various French museums jumped at the opportunity of the Doucet Sale to enrich their collections. The Louvre, the Petit-Palais, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs and the Musée Carnavalet were able to acquire pictures, drawings and items of furniture.
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