As its index number, 552 bis, suggests, the origin of this fine lady's writing desk is the innovative and supremely delicate bureau de dame, first made for the 1900 Exposition universelle. Incorporating an integral bombé form cartonnier surmounted by a figure of Cupid and combining the traditional Louis XV style with contemporary Art Nouveau design, the concept for the original desk is possibly one of the most perfect examples of the collaboration that existed between Linke and his sculptor Messagé.
Payne notes that the present desk, designed without a cartonnier and slightly wider in size, was produced only once, in 1905, at a cost of 1,000.40 francs. The table appears in a photograph of Linke's Place Vendôme showroom taken after 1903 (see opposite) and again in a view of his stand at the 1905 Salon du Mobilier in Paris.
Index number 552 also appears to have been produced at least once in a smaller size and with a free-standing cartonnier. An example, lacking its cartonnier, was sold Sotheby's Amsterdam, 21 June 2005, lot 39 (57,600 euros). Meanwhile, an example of the original 1900 Exposition version of the bureau de dame was sold Sotheby's New York, 26 October 2006, lot 163 ($419,200).
For a note on François Linke, please see lot 100.