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Robert Lehman (1891-1969) was the head of the investment banking firm, Lehman Brothers, as well as a noted philanthropist and collector. The contents of his West 54th Street townhouse were presented to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by the Robert Lehman Foundation after his death and represent 2600 works of art collected by Robert Lehman or his father, Philip (1861-1947). Robert Lehman was a longtime trustee and Board Chairman of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and it was his wish that his collection could be shared with the public. The Robert Lehman Collection encompasses a broad range of collecting areas: European paintings, including the iconic Ingres painting of the princesse de Broglie, an esteemed group of early maiolica, European glass, Old Master drawings, European furniture and early frames. Its group of Italian paintings from the Sienese school is particularly rich and includes the circa 1326 Simone Martini painting of the Madonna and Child. In 1975, the newly built Robert Lehman Wing opened at the Museum, with a central atrium radiating galleries designed to capture the interiors in the Lehman family townhouse and reflect the refined tastes and connoisseurship of this distinguished American family. THE PROPERTY OF THE METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART

CIRCA 1740

A PAIR OF LOUIS XV GILTWOOD FAUTEUILS CIRCA 1740 Each with cartouche back and serpentine seat carved with foliate sprays and centered with a pomegranate and trailing floral sprays and flowerheads and upholstered à chassis in cream silk damask flanked by out-scrolled padded arms, over a chaneled apron, raised on foliate and cabochon-carved cabriole legs (2)
René Weiller, Paris
Acquired from Hans Steibel, Paris in May 1955.

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Lot Essay

This generously proportioned and richly carved salon suite was conceived in the style rocaille of the early Louis XV period of the 1730s and 1740s. Furniture made at this time was frequently unstamped, as the guild rule obliging Parisian furniture-makers to stamp their work was not enforced until 1743. However, the Lehman suite displays distinct characteristics that lead to a possible attribution to the Cresson dynasty of menuisiers. Founded by Charles and Jean Cresson during the Règence and continued by Jean-Baptiste, Louis I, René and Michel during the first half of the 18th century, the Cressons were among the most talented menuisiers of their era. The Cressons shared a workshop on the rue de Cléry Au Gros Chapelet and not surprisingly, there are common traits in all of their documented work. However, specific motifs, such as the pomegranate cresting and the distinct shaped, raised apron appear in the work of Michel (1709-1781) and René (1705-49) Cresson. A pair of fauteuils by Michel Cresson and a pair of chaises by René Cresson from the collection of Maria Callas that exhibit these motifs are illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIe Sicle, Paris, 1989, p.210 fig. A and p.211. Another pair of fauteuils by René Cresson was sold from the Wildenstein Collection at Christie's, London, 14 December 2005, lot 359 and a single tabouret by Michel Cresson was sold anonymously at Christie's, London, 7 July 2005, lot 327.

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