THE PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN COLLECTOR
(LOTS 705 - 707)
SIX FAUTEUILS ATTRIBUTED TO NICOLAS HEURTAUT
These magnificent fauteuils are an example of the 'symmetrical rococo' which is typical of Heurtaut's oeuvre as he significantly contributed to the evolution of rocaille design into the transitional period. The generous proportions, distinctive outline of the backs with their arched cresting and slightly waisted frame as well as the characteristic floral carvings on the cresting, rails and angles can be seen on related armchairs illustrated in P. Kjellberg, Le Mobilier Français du XVIII Siècle, Paris, 1998, pp. 402 - 403 and B. Pallot, L'Art du Siège au XVIIIe Siècle en France, Paris, 1989, pp. 204 and 251.
Although not stamped, the caliber and depth of the rendering on these fauteuils of seat furniture with finely sculpted details and robust, sinuously carved frames could not have been executed by any menuisier of lesser stature and talent than Nicolas Heurtaut.
Nicolas Heurtaut was remarkable for having achieved the level of master of two guilds; he was first appointed sculpteur en bois in 1742, elected maître menuisier in 1753. He worked as a master ornamental sculptor from 1742 to 1753 on the rue Neuve-de-Cléry, embellishing seat furniture executed by the likes of Claude Sené and the Tilliard brothers. In these eleven years studying, designing and creating natural forms in wood, Heurtaut inevitably became confident in the depiction of the delicate contours of these figures. His floral and foliate carvings are strikingly life-like. In the central bouquet of the canape cresting, chrysanthemums, hydrangeas and peonies are readily identifiable. A fauteuil à la reine stamped N. Heurtaut with comparable floral carving is illustrated B. Pallot, ibid, pp. 224 - 225. Interestingly, the unusual interlaced carving found on the legs of this suite is also seen on a set of four Louis XV fauteuils which are also unstamped, sold anonymously Christie's, Monaco, 21 June 1998, lot 612
Heurtaut worked with numerous marchands-tapissiers and enjoyed the patronage of aristocratic clientele, which included the marquis de Villarceaux, the comte de Jaucourt, the duc de la Rochefoucault and the duchesse d'Enville.
ATTRIBUTED TO NICOLAS HEURTAUT, CIRCA 1760