Louis Cresson maître, in 1738.
This superb pair of chairs, with their grand proportions and beautifully carved frames with their striking mixture of bold and finely detailed carving embody the work of the Cresson family dynasty. Their unusual combination of naturalistic motifs from floral sprays to bat’s wings embody the creativity seen at the height of the Rococo era when in the hands of a talented and inventive craftsman. Their form and decoration is clearly indebted to two designs from the 1730s both of which are in the Musée des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. One by Nicholas Pineau shares the same side and leg profile while the other, attributed to Juste-Aurele Meisonnier, has a closely related back with the same pierced floral carving (B. Pallot, L’art du Siège au XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1987, p. 37 and 121).
Founded by Charles and Jean Cresson during the Régence and continued by Louis, Michel and René during the first half of the 18th Century, this family of chair-makers or menuisiers was based in the rue de Cléry. Louis, who is largely considered to be the most talented of the Cresson dynasty and whose work stands out for its refined carving and bold proportions, was patronized by the duc d'Orléans and the prince de Condé.
Related examples by or attributed to Cresson combine several of the distinct motifs seen on these chairs and capture the variety of expression this menuisier found within this form. Interestingly, two are attributed to Louis Cresson while two are attributed to his brother, René . As there was no requirement by the guild to stamp their work until 1745, it isn’t surprising that these chairs are unstamped nor that there would be a closely related sensibility between two brothers who shared the same workshop. They include a walnut fauteuil attributed to René Cresson formerly in the collection of Comte Isaac de Camondo and now in the Louvre (G.B. Pallot, Furniture Collections in the Louvre, Dijon, 1993, pp.54-5). A fauteuil attributed to Louis Cresson and with Gallerie Gismondi is illustrated in B. Pallot, L’art du Siège au XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1987, p.50 as are two other chairs, one in a private collection attributed to René Cresson (Ibid, p. 119) and another formerly in the collection of David Weill and now in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Ibid, p.127).