Pierre Garnier, maître in 1742.
The son of the Parisian ébéniste François Garnier, Pierre, who in 1742 became maître-ébéniste at the age of 16, went on to play a leading role in the development of French neoclassical furniture. As early as 1761, when the so-called goût grec was emerging, the avant-garde architect Charles de Wailly presented at the bi-annual Paris Salon a number of revolutionary pieces of furniture, one of which was a secretaire belonging to Marie-Thérèse du Cluzel de la Chabrerie, wife of the maître des requêtes, Philippe-Etienne Desvieux, which was made by Garnier (Huchet de Quénetain, p. 29). This early and highly publicised collaboration with De Wailly may have brought Garnier to the attention of one of the most influential protagonists of the new style, Madame de Pompadour's brother, the directeur des Bâtiments, the Marquis de Marigny. As a remarkable series of letters from Marigny to his cabinet-maker testifies, he held Garnier in high esteem and entrusted him with a variety of commissions (Svend Eriksen, 'Some letters from the Marquis de Marigny to his cabinet-maker Pierre Garnier,' Furniture History, (1972), pp. 78-85). For instance, Marigny asked Garnier to design various items of furniture, as well as the mounts with which to enrich a plain piece of ebony furniture; an unusual practice that was generally forbidden by guild rules (A. Pradère, Les Ebénistes Français de Louis XV à la Revolution, Paris, 1989, p. 249).