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A NEAR PAIR OF NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND LACQUERED COMMODES
A NEAR PAIR OF NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND LACQUERED COMMODES
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PROPERTY FROM THE ESTATE OF SHIRLEY FLETCHER (LOT 54)
A NEAR PAIR OF NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND LACQUERED COMMODES

AFTER JEAN-HENRI RIESENER, CIRCA 1870

Details
A NEAR PAIR OF NAPOLEON III ORMOLU-MOUNTED EBONY AND LACQUERED COMMODES
AFTER JEAN-HENRI RIESENER, CIRCA 1870
Each with beveled Belgian black marble top, above an entwined foliate-cast frieze set with three drawers and centered with the monogram MA for Marie-Antoinette, above a central gilt-decorated lacquer panel depicting birds and fruiting branches, flanked by suspended floral garlands, one commode fitted with drawers, the other with a cupboard door and shelved interior, above a shaped apron centered with a floral wreath and flanking cornucopiae, each raised on tapering acanthus-sheathed feet, the reserve of the mounts on one commode variously stamped M, the lockplates on both stamped DUVIVIER PARIS 76 FG ST. ANTOINE
38 5/8 in. (98.1 cm.) high, 51 in. (128 cm.) wide, 24 in. (61 cm.) deep (2)

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Lot Essay

The present commodes are faithful reproductions of Jean-Henri Riesener's celebrated suite of furniture commissioned in 1783 for Marie-Antoinette's cabinet intérieur at Château Saint-Cloud. The original and companion sécretaire, 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. A similar commode, formerly in the collection of the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and referenced in Pierre Verlet's Les Bronzes Dorés du XVIII Siècle, was sold at Christie's, New York, 21 April 2009, lot 266 ($218,500).

In the case of the aforementioned commode and companion sécretaire sold in 2009, Verlet initially attributes both to Riesener, based solely on their beauty, casting and construction. However, it is upon further inspection that he realizes the lacking MA Garde Meuble stamps as well as the subsequent Saint-Cloud inventory marks which would have secured manufacture and authorship to the celebrated 18th century cabinet-maker (op. cit., pp. 370-373). Though perhaps unintentional, Verlet's initial opinion certainly brings to light the excellent craftsmanship of those ébénistes active during the Second Empire, including the presently unknown maker of thses commodes which bear all the hallmarks of the period.

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