These elegant chaises are marked with the brand of the private Garde Meuble of the Comte d’Artois, younger brother of Louis XVI. In the absence of further identifying marks and because the records of his Garde Meuble are frustratingly scant, it is difficult to be more precise regarding their original destination. However it is likely that they were supplied to his apartments at either Versailles or Fontainebleau which he was furnishing from 1773-1775 under the direction of Pierre Jubault. During these years the simple marque au feu of interlaced initials ‘CDT’ beneath a crown was employed (as on these chaises), whereas after 1776 Jubault used a more complex system with ‘AT’ beneath a crown, accompanied by ‘GM’ for Garde Meuble and letters to indicate his various residences- B for the Château de Bagatelle, M for the Château de Maisons and T for the Palais du Temple in Paris. The simple ‘CDT’ brand also features on a rafraichissoir by Teuné of a similar transitional style, delivered in 1775 to the salle à manger of Artois at Versailles (sold from the collection of Juan de Beistegui; Christie’s, Paris, 10 September 2018, lot 18, when acquired by the Château de Versailles); seat furniture by Nadal or Boulard delivered to his bibliothèque and his chambre at Versailles in 1775 (now at the Mobilier National and the Louvre) and ébénisterie for the same apartment, such as the bureau à cylindre by Teuné, now in the British Royal Collection. These were paid for by the administration of the Menus Plaisirs between 1773 and 1775, the furniture of the main rooms (anterooms, state bedroom) being paid for by the Garde Meuble de la Couronne. Moreover the overall design of these chaises, albeit simpler in execution, relates them to the famous group of chaises by François II and Toussaint Foliot, delivered around the same time (1774) for Louis XVI’s use in his private apartments at Versailles (see D. Meyer, Versailles Furniture of the Royal Palace, Dijon, 2002, vol. I, pp. 152-3, cat. 39). Foliot was one of the main suppliers of chairs to the Garde Meuble Royal (often through the tapissier Capin). So it is likely these chairs were part of larger groups of chairs delivered either for the ‘cabinets intérieurs’ of the Comte d’Artois at Versailles (likely) or for Fontainebleau and Compiègne. For a general discussion of the furnishing of the residences of the Comte d’Artois and the various brands he used, see D. Alcouffe, C. Baulez et al., la Folie d’Artois, exh. cat., Paris, 1988, pp. 95-117.
THE COMTE D’ARTOIS
The comte d'Artois (1757-1836) was the youngest brother of Louis XVI, who ruled France as Charles X between 1824 and 1830, when he was overthrown in the July Revolution. However, it was not during his brief reign as King but before the revolution of 1789 that he exercised the greatest influence as a patron of the arts. Chief among the beneficiaries of his artistic patronage was the architect and designer François-Joseph Bélanger, who decorated several of his residences in Paris and elsewhere, as well as the painters Hubert Robert, François-Hubert Drouais, Louis-Michel van Loo and Jacques-Louis David, whose painting of Paris and Helen was commissioned by the comte. For the decoration of his lavish residences, which included apartments at Versailles, the Temple in Paris and numerous smaller chateaux, he enlisted the services of some of the most important craftsmen of his time, such as Georges Jacob, François Rémond, R.V.L.C, as well as the abovementioned François Gaspard Teuné, among others. The comte was known for having excellent taste and pioneering the latest fashions in interior decorating: in the 1780s he refurnished his apartments at Versailles and the Palais du Temple and installed two Turkish-inspired rooms, or cabinets turcs, which were among the first of such interiors at the time. At the beginning of the revolution, the comte d'Artois was one of the first emigrés, leaving for Turin in July 1789. His possessions were seized by the Revolutionary government and mostly sold to pay off his extensive creditors.
THE FOLIOT DYNASTY OF CHAIR-MAKERS
The Foliot dynasty of menuisiers was one of the most important in eighteenth-century France. They spanned over four generations - two were awarded the prestigious title menuisier du Garde-Meuble du Roi - and their sophisticated, highly refined chairs appear in collections of many of the era's most important patrons, including Marie-Antoinette. Both François I (d. 1761) and François II (1748-1839?) Foliot used the stamp F. FOLIOT and both were active in the mid-eighteenth century. While François I worked primarily in the Rococo taste, his son is known to have created furniture in the Louis XV, Transitional and Louis XVI styles, including a celebrated suite of salon furniture commissioned by the Garde-Meuble royal for the Salon des Jeux du Roi at Versailles - today known as the Salon de la Pendule - which was delivered in 1775. Examples of the Foliot workshop have been highly coveted; a single fauteuil by François II Foliot ordered for the Grand Cabinet-Intérieur of Marie-Antoinette at Versailles sold Christie's, New York, 22 November 1983, lot 216 ($220,000), whereas more recently another pair of armchairs by either François I or François II sold Christie’s, New York, 24 October 2013, lot 641 ($209,000).