Jean-Pierre Latz (1691-1754), ébéniste privilégié du Roi by 1741.
This spectacular commode, inlaid with elaborate bois de bout marquetry surfaces and dynamically rich ormolu mounts, is undoubtedly one of the finest examples of commodes executed by this highly skilled and esteemed ébéniste.
The German-born Latz arrived in Paris in 1719 and occupied quarters on the the rue du Faubourg St. Antoine. Latz never received his maîtrise, but his appointment as ébéniste privilégié du Roi is recorded for the first time in 1741. H.H. Hawley, 'Jean-Pierre Latz, Cabinetmaker', Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, September-October 1970, p.207, discusses Latz's style, and emphasizes the three-dimensional vitality of his furniture in combination with extremely realistic floral marquetry and inventively sculptural bronze mounts, most of which were made by Latz himself. In 18th Century France it was completely prohibited to exercise this double activity of bronzier and ébéniste; the guilds were highly regulated and kept strict watch over their respective spheres. This practice of casting his own mounts, in direct contravention of guild laws, allowed him to perfect his unique models and adapt them to specific pieces of furniture and retain their exclusive use. A raid on his workshop in 1749 by the bronziers revealed the presence of 2,288 models of ormolu mounts. However, subsequent to this raid, Latz no longer had exclusive use of some of his moulds as the bronze-casters' guild had seized them and the mounts cast from them, and sold them in accordance with guild regulations.
Latz's notable patrons included the sovereigns Frederick II, King of Prussia, and August III, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, and the duc de Penthièvre. A number of pieces were also commissioned by Louise Elizabeth, Louis XV's eldest daughter, between 1748-1753. Madame Infante married the Duke of Parma, and while most of these pieces furnished the palaces of Colorno and Parma, many are now in the Quirinale in Rome (see A. Pradère, French Furniture Makers, Malibu, 1989, pp. 153-162).
The models and scheme of mounts on this impressive commode are closely related to a few other highly notable examples by Latz, a number of which have Royal provenance. The mounts are virtually identical to two stamped examples (one in floral marquetry and the other in bois satiné) that are now conserved in the Quirinale, Rome and which were among the furniture brought to Italy from Versailles by Louise Elizabeth when she married the duke of Parma (see H. Hawley, op. cit., pl. 22, p. 232 and pl. 28 p. 237). A further stamped commode veneered in bois satiné in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, shares the same bombé profile and design of mounts to the present model (see G. Wilson, Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, 2001,no. 27, p. 15). Another floral marquetry commode, supplied for the Chambre de la Dauphine at the Château de Choisy-le-Roi, circa 1757, and attrributed to Jean-Pierre Latz and Jean-François Oeben (from the Collection of Djahanguir Riahi, sold Christie's New York, 2 November 2000, lot 20) has the same central cartouche, characteristic C-scroll side mounts, and scrolled foliate sabots as the present example.