Roger Van der Cruse, dit Lacroix, maître in 1755.
Arguably one of the best ébénistes of the Louis XVI period, Lacroix established his atelier in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Interestingly, Lacroix was related by marriage to some of the most important ébénistes and aritsans of the day, including his brother-in-law Jean-François Oeben (and subsequently Jean-Henri Riesener), Simon Oeben and the ciseleur André Ravrio.
THE USE OF TWO STAMPS
Unusually, Lacroix employed two different stamps to sign his work, 'LACROIX' and the abbreviated version 'R.V.L.C'. Typically these stamps were used separately, but interestingly, they are found together on the present lot. A porcelain-mounted secrétaire à abattant conserved at Waddeston Manor (and illustrated in C. Roinet, Roger Vandercruse dit Lacroix, Paris, 2000, fig. 40, p. 98) is the only other recorded example by Lacroix which presents both the 'LACROIX' and the 'R.V.L.C' stamps employed simultaneously. No definitive answer has been found as to why Lacroix used two stamps or why he used one versus the other on any given piece. The reigning theory, however, put forth by Christian Baulez, suggests that the ébéniste used the more discrete 'R.V.L.C' stamp for pieces intended for the marchand-merciers, and the more obvious stamp, 'LACROIX', when selling directly to private patrons. (op.cit, p. 26).
Lacroix is known to have worked for a few marchands-merciers, such as Pierre II Migeon (between 1751 and 1758) and the marchand-ébéniste Nicolas Héricourt circa 1766 - 1767. Lacroix also worked for Simon-Philippe Poirier, for whom he supplied furniture destined for Madame du Barry at Louveciennes at the end of the 1760s. He also notably supplied a number of illustrious pieces for the ébéniste du Roi Gilles Joubert.
Lacroix's oeuvre consists mainly of furniture decorated with spectacular marquetry, as well as pieces mounted with Sèvres porcelain plaques. Lacquer-mounted pieces by Lacroix are rare, and only a few examples are known. Among these are two magnificent commodes mounted with panels of Qianlong laquer enriched with ivory and soapstone carvings, one stamped 'RVLC' and the other stamped 'R.V.L.C' and 'J.F. LELEU', the latter delivered for Jean Le Maître de La Martinière, trésorier général de l'artillerie et du génie from 1758 to 1774 (see op.cit, pp. 60 - 63). The distinct swagged urn-form mounts found on the feet of these cabinets are very similar to those found on the previously discussed porcelain-mounted secrétaire stamped 'LACROIX' and 'RVLC' at Waddesdon Manor and also a porcelain-mounted secrétaire attributed to Lacroix at the Metropolitan Museum, New York (illustrated op.cit, fig. 40, p. 98 and fig. 19, p. 57).