The present lot is a faithful interpretation of the Neoclassic 'Mineral Cabinet' constructed by Georg Haupt (d. 1784, maître 1770), after a design by Jean E. Rehms. The original cabinet, arguably Haupt's most important commission, was given by Gustaf III to Prince Louis-Joseph au Bourbon-Condé in 1773 and now resides at Chantilly. The original design for the cabinet can be found in the Nationalmuseum, Stockholm.
Generally regarded as Sweden's foremost cabinet-maker of the 18th century, Georg Haupt is largely credited with introducing Neoclassical style to Sweden in the 1770s. Having served his apprenticeship in Sweden, he worked in Paris for Simon Oeben, brother of Jean-François, ébéniste du roi. Moving to London, he developed a distinctive style of marquetry which was to form the basis of his own individual interpretation of Louis XVI style. The influential London architect Sir William Chambers, who was himself Swedish born, may well have recommended Haupt to King Adolf Frederik (d. 1771), for in 1769 he was appointed ébéniste du roi. His establishment as court cabinet-maker was confirmed when Gustaf III (d. 1792) assumed the throne, commissioning a number of works from Haupt.
François Linke (d. 1946) was one of the most celebrated ébénistes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Born in Pankraz, Bohemia, Linke moved to Paris in 1875 and established independent ateliers at 170, rue de Faubourg St. Antoine. As was the practice among his contemporaries, Linke initially produced furniture derived from styles popular during the 18th century ancienne régime. By 1900, his worldwide reputation as an individualistic master of high quality furniture was well established.
Winning the Medaille d'Or for his Grand Bureau at the Paris 1900 exhibition was to be the pinnacle of Linke's career. Critics such as Charles Dambreuse, were prompted to comment: "L'Exposition de la maison Linke est le gros événement de l'histoire du meuble d'art en l'an de grâce 1900" (see C. Dambreuse, I'Art Industriel à l'Exposition de Meuble de Style - M. F. Linke, in Revue Artistique & Industrielle, Paris, July-August, 1900). Linke's international acclaim following the 1900 exhibition afforded him a high degree of financial stability, not only allowing him to establish a large showroom on the fashionable place Vendôme, but also to pursue new and further distant markets by exhibiting at other international shows.
The presence of the Devoto family arms is an indicator of the important early provenance of this cabinet. Originally from Italy, the well-known Devoto family introduced winemaking to Argentina in the first half of the 19th century. They started a general store in the province of Santa Fe, and investing in several estates, eventually became an important wheat producer. The Devotos are known to have ordered several highly important pieces directly from the Linke ateliers at the beginning of last century, such as the sumptuous bed and armoire sold Christie's New York, 30 April 1992, lots 340-341.