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A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED, PEWTER AND LACQUERED TOLE-INLAID EBONY AND EBONIZED TABLES DE CAFE
A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED, PEWTER AND LACQUERED TOLE-INLAID EBONY AND EBONIZED TABLES DE CAFE
A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED, PEWTER AND LACQUERED TOLE-INLAID EBONY AND EBONIZED TABLES DE CAFE
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A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED, PEWTER AND LACQUERED TOLE-INLAID EBONY AND EBONIZED TABLES DE CAFE
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Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more
A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED, PEWTER AND LACQUERED TOLE-INLAID EBONY AND EBONIZED TABLES DE CAFE

BY ADAM WEISWEILER AND PROBABLY SUPPLIED BY DOMINIQUE DAGUERRE, CIRCA 1785

Details
A PAIR OF LOUIS XVI ORMOLU-MOUNTED, PEWTER AND LACQUERED TOLE-INLAID EBONY AND EBONIZED TABLES DE CAFE
BY ADAM WEISWEILER AND PROBABLY SUPPLIED BY DOMINIQUE DAGUERRE, CIRCA 1785
Each with a rectangular-inset granito rosso top above a frieze inset with Japanese style tôle peinte panels, each with a spring-loaded frieze drawer on faceted tapering legs and toupie feet, joined by X-stretchers, each stamped A. WEISWEILER, each with partial French transit labels to the underside
33 in. (84 cm.) high, 22 ¾ in. (58 cm.) wide, 14 ¾ in. (37.5 cm.) deep (each)
Provenance
Betty Deutsch de la Meurthe (1887-1943), according to Segoura invoice.
Thence by descent to Alec Weisweiller (1913-2005), according to Segoura invoice.
Acquired from Segoura, Paris.
Literature
P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français au XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1989, p. 912.
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

Adam Weisweiler, maître in 1778.
These exquisite and refined tables, with their richly decorated tole friezes imitating Japanese lacquer offset by the subtle pewter and ebony tapered legs, epitomize the understated but precious taste of the last years of the ancien régime. They are also apparently unique in the oeuvre of Adam Weisweiler, one of the most accomplished cabinet-makers of this period.
Weisweiler’s work is characterized by superb quality craftsmanship, both in terms of the materials used (his pieces always display the choicest cuts of timber) and in the cabinet-work which shows extreme precision, along with an ineffable sense of proportion and balance, so perfectly displayed in these tables. The combination of ebony and pewter, along with complex, pierced interlaced stretchers, is also typical of his work.
THE MODEL
These tables are part of a distinctive group by Weisweiler, often conceived as pairs and known as tables de café. Other examples include:
- a pair formerly in the Stroganov Collection, subsequently confiscated and sold at auction on behalf of the Soviet Government, Lepke, Berlin, 12-13 May 1931, lots 185-6 (now in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris)
-a pair formerly in the collection of Count Potocki, Lancut, and subsequently in the collection of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, until sold Christie’s, New York, 30 October 1993, lot 402 ($288,500)
-a single example sold Sotheby’s, Paris, 30 November 2011, lot 78 (€318,750)
-a single example sold Sotheby’s, London, 6 November 2012, lot 102 (£181,250)
The pair of tables offered here are the only examples to feature panels of tôle imitating Japanese lacquer, all the others having slender ebony friezes.
THE USE OF TOLE
Weisweiler, along with a select group of his confrères, would for special commissions incorporate panels of precious Japanese lacquer. However this was an extremely scarce resource, and tole subtly painted in imitation of lacquer was also sometimes employed by him, for instance on a console desserte with very similarly decorated frieze featuring Japanese heraldic ‘mons’, sold from the collection of Dr. Alexandre Benchoufi, Sotheby’s, New York, 9 November 2006, lot 31, or on a secretaire formerly in the collection of the Parisian Rothschilds, offered Christie’s, London, 2 December 1997, lot 93.
The technique for lacquering tôle was introduced in Paris in the 1760s. Sieur Gosse, who styled himself a 'master painter, sculptor and lacquerer' obtained a Privilège in 1767 to manufacture lacquered tôle, which he advertised as a method which would protect iron from rust and be resistant to fire and acids (see J. Whitehead, The French Interior in the Eighteenth Century, London, 1992, pp.192-3). Other examples in this rare group of furniture to incorporate tôle in imitation of Japanese lacquer include a cylinder bureau by Claude-Charles Saunier, formerly in the Earl of Rosebery's collection, sold Sotheby's, London, 24 November 1978, lot 184, and a celebrated suite by Pierre Macret of two commodes and an encoignure, reputedly used by Marie-Antoinette at Compiègne.
WEISWEILER AND DAGUERRE
Weisweiler’s work is indelibly linked to the most innovative and fashionable marchand-mercier and tastemaker of the era, Dominique Daguerre, whose dazzling clientele not only included all the titled nobility of Paris and several members of the royal family including Marie-Antoinette, but the royal courts of Vienna, St. Petersburg, Naples and England, where the Prince of Wales became perhaps his single-most important client. It is likely therefore that the pair of tables de café referred to above in the collection of the Counts Potocki had originally been sold to Lancut by this innovative and entrepreneurial dealer, who really defined the taste of his era.
THE 20TH CENTURY PROVENANCE
When sold by Segoura, he stated that these tables had formerly been in the collection of Alex Weisweiller, scion of a wealthy jewish family who with his wife Francine was part of the dazzling post-war set in the South of France, based in their celebrated Villa Santo Sospir in Cap Ferrat. They hired fashionable and influential tastemaker Madeleine Castaing to decorate the interiors of the villa, and their glittering social circle included Pablo Picasso, Pierre Cardin, Marlene Dietrich, Marie-Laure de Noailles and Jean Cocteau, a frequent guest at the villa who famously covered the wall of the villa with drawings which he called his 'tattoos'. Francine was also an early patron of Yves Saint Laurent. The Segoura invoice also indicated that the tables had also been in the collection of the Deutsch de la Meurthe, a wealthy family of French industrialists, which would suggest that Alex Weisweiller had inherited the tables from his mother Betty, whose father Henri Deutsch de la Meurthe was an oil magnate and one of the early supporters of aviation.


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