Bernard II van Risen Burgh, maître in 1730
This exceptional commode represents arguably one of the earliest manifestations of BVRB's mature style. Although unstamped, in both shape and form, as well as the distinctive frames to the drawers and the overall profile of the angle-mounts, this commode is closely related to the drawing by BVRB now held in the State Archives, Munich (published in G. Hojer and H. Ottomeyer, Die Möbel der Residenz München, Munich, 1995, p.89). This latter drawing corresponds directly with the series of commodes supplied by BVRB for the Residenz in Munich circa 1733-5, which were commissioned for the newly-built interiors designed by François Cuvilliés following the disastrous fire of 1729. Almost certainly supplied by the marchand-mercier Pierre Granier to the Elector Karl-Albrecht of Bavaria, this group is extensively discussed in J.N. Ronfort, J.D. Augarde and B. Langer, 'Nouveau Aspects de la Vie et de l'Oeuvre de Bernard (II) Vanrisamburgh (c.1700-1766)', L'Estampille/L'Objet d'Art, April 1995, pp. 28-52, figs. 3-9.
The distinctive angle-mounts of this commode are closely related to those on the Alexander commode (sold at Christie's New York, 30 April 1999, lot 100, $480,000 plus premium), as well as on three bureaux plats stamped by BVRB. The first, originally supplied to the duc de Richelieu, Maréchal de Belle-Isle (1696-1788), is discussed in F.J.B. Watson, The Wrightsman Collection, New York, 1966, vol. II, no. 146, pp. 295-7; the second was sold from the Wildenstein Akram Ojjeh Collection, Sotheby's Monaco, 25-26 June 1979, lot 46; and the third is illustrated in J.Nicolay, L'Art et la Manière des Maîtres Ebénistes Français au XVIIIe Siècle, Paris, 1976, vol. 1, p. 85, fig.C. As Watson noted, these identical mounts feature prominently on a bureau plat in the portrait of the Dauphin commissioned from Louis Tocqué (1698-1772) in 1738 and dated 1739, which is now in the Louvre (cat. no.868). Probably supplied by the marchand-mercier Thomas-Joachim Hébert - like the later bureau plat by BVRB supplied for the Cabinet de Monsieur le Dauphin at Versailles on 18 February 1745 - it is possible to date this model of mount to between 1733-9.
A. Boutemy, in Meubles Français anonymes du XVIIIe siècle, Brussels, 1973, pp.85-101 also discusses two commodes at Nymphenburg and two others from the Ojjeh/Wildenstein Collection (sold Sotheby & Co., Monte Carlo, 26 and 26 June 1979, lots 38 and 39) although these do not have the pronounced galbé outline that is such a distinctive feature of this present piece, one of the Nymphenburg commodes is of a tentative arc en arbalette form (Boutemy, fig. 48). Furthermore, the rich sculputral angles, trellis-pattern parquetry inlay and broad frames outlining the drawers all have close analogies with those of the present commode.
THE LOPEZ-TARRAGOYA COLLECTION
The Baron de Lopez Tarragoya formed a distinguished art collection in the early 20th Century, mainly acquired through the Parisian dealers Jacques Seligman, Bensimon and L. Kraemer et fils. Seligman had purchased the bulk of the Hertford-Wallace property in 1914 from 2 rue Lafitte and the ch/cateau de Bagatelle, which had been left to Lady Sackville by Sir John Murray Scott (d.1912). Numerous items in the Lopez Tarragoya collection are said to have come from Sir Richard Wallace's Collection via this source. In addition, the Baron also frequented the great sales of the time at the Galerie Charpentier, Paris, and is known to have bought pieces from the Loewenstein Collection and the comte de Montesquiu.
Items formerly in the collection that have now found their way to museums include the Randon de Boisset-model torcheres in the Getty Museum, which the Baron had bought from the princesse de Faucigny-Lucigne; a St. Petersburg tapestry now at the Hermitage and a Louis XIV giltwood console and equestrian bronze of Louis XIV by Girardon, both now in the mus/aee des Arts D/aecoratifs (don. Grog-Carven).