Joseph Gegenbach, dit Canabas (1712-1797), maître in 1766.
Canabas, who was of German origin came to Paris in 1745 where he initially worked for Jean-François Oeben and Pierre Migeon. The accounts of the latter, who was also a marchand reveal that Canabas was supplying him with furniture on a regular basis, before he became a master in 1766. He subsequently established himself in Faubourg Saint-Antoine, and supplied both his private clientele and other marchands. He specialised in small pieces of furniture, mainly utilitarian and practical pieces often of inovative conception. His furniture was mainly executed in the best possible solid mahogany with a few exceptions where he used mahogany veneers. His pieces, as this example, are usually characterised by the lack of ormolu mounts.
Canabas was an innovator of furniture destined for the dining room, and was one of the first ébénistes in France to conceive furniture made especially for serving with the absence of domestic help. He specialised in these tables in the fashionable goût anglais called tables servantes or rafraîchissoirs.
This model is usually executed with two undertiers, however, a rafraîchissoir illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIIIème siècle, Paris, 2002, p. 164, fig. a, displays only one undertier.
A very similar example, also stamped by Canabas, is in the Musée Nissim de Camondo, Paris (which is illustrated in the exhibition catalogue Grands ébénistes et Menuisiers Parisiens du XVIIIe Siècle, 1740-1790, at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Dec. 1955 - Feb. 1956, no. 37, pl. 17). Another pair of rafraîchissoirs in mahogany are in the Louvre, Paris (gift Mme Blard, 1994).
A similar pair of rafraîchissoirs, both stamped Canabas, was sold at Christie's Monaco, 2 December 1994, lot 168 (FF 555.000), while another pair sold in Christie's Paris, 16 December 2002, lot 219 (Euros 39,950). A single similar example, also stamped by Canabas, was sold from the Dr Anton C.R. Dreesmann Collection, Christie's London, 10 April 2002, lot 346 (£17,625).