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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "A Fine Louis XVI Style Gilt-Bronze Mounted Mahogany and Ebony Exhibition Commode à Vantaux"
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An identical commode can be seen in the background of Lexcellent’s exhibition stand at the Paris Exposition Universelle, 1900. He was awarded a coveted gold medal for the quality of his work. (Art Journal 1900, p.117).
It is not recorded how many examples of this commode Lexcellent produced, but given the incredible exhibition quality of the gilt bronze mounts, and the unusual detail of the finely fitted interior, it is likely that the present commode may have been the one exhibited at the Paris Exhibition.
The commode is based on an example by Adam Weisweiler supplied in 1788 by Daguerre for the Cabinet Intérieur of Louis XVI at the Château de Saint-Cloud and now residing at the Chateau de Compiegne.
Adam Weisweiler was German-born. Although scholars know nothing about his apprenticeship and early training, records show that he was established in Paris in 1777, the year he was married. He became a maître-ébéniste in 1778, and set up his workshop on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine, and worked mainly for the marchands-merciers. These middlemen, such as Dominique Daguerre, would then sell Weisweiler's works to members of the French court, including Queen Marie-Antoinette, the king of Naples, and England's Prince Regent (later George IV).
Weisweiler produced a wide repertoire of commodes which were all based on a similar form: those fitted with drawers and those with hinged panels (vantaux). Although Weisweiler did not appear to be the inventor of these commodes à vantaux, with three panels, of which only two opened, the central panel moving across the right hand panel by means of a flying hinge, they formed a major part of his production. According to Lemmonier, op. cit., of the fifty commodes listed, forty-three have panels and only seven are fitted with drawers.
In an inventory drawn up at Versailles in 1787, one finds such a commode in the bedroom of Madame de Pompadour:
`une commode en bois d'acajou demi-régence, ouvrante à trois vantaux dont deux à brisure, orné de pieds à gaine cannelés à godrons, les pieds à gaine isolés et cannelés, idem chapiteaux à moulures unies. Le tout bronze or moulu avec dessus de marbre griotte d'Italie veiné'.
Weisweiler was particularly fond of this form of commode and utilised all the materials he had at his disposition: they were made in mahogany as well as thuya wood and a number were also decorated in pietre dure and lacquer. For a related commode in pietre dure stamped Weisweiler, now in the British Royal Collection, see Pradère, op. cit., p. 402, fig. 498. This commode was also sometimes called a `commode à brisure'. Without changing the initial construction of the commode, Weisweiler made certain changes in style from 1789-90 and during the Empire period, although he kept its basic form.
Verlet, Pierre (1990), Le Mobilier Royal Français, Picard, Paris; Vol. I, plate XXIII, no.18.
Ledoux - Lebard, Denise (1984), Les Ébénistes du XIXe Siècle, Editions de L'Amateur, Paris; p.434.
The Art Journal (1900, Paris Exhibition, London; p. 117.
Verlet, Pierre (1963), Collection des Connaissance des Arts, les Ébénistes du XVIIIe Siècle Français, Hachette, Paris; p. 288, fig.1.
|Height||95.00 cm||(37.40 inches)|
|Width||145.00 cm||(57.09 inches)|
|Depth||58.00 cm||(22.83 inches)|