Simon Oeben

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Simon Oeben (died 1786) is often confused with his more famous brother, Jean-Francois. The brothers both married into the family of Roger Vandercruse, the cabinetmaker known as RVLC. In 1754 Jean-Francois became ébéniste du Roi and Simon moved with him to the Gobelins workshops. Simon was received as a maître in 1769. When Jean-Francois moved to the Arsenal, Simon stayed for a couple of years at the Gobelins and was conferred with the title of première ébéniste du Roi. He opened a shop from which his work was sold and enjoyed patronage from a varied clientele, including the duc de Choiseul. His work is distinguished by fine and meticulous cabinetmaking in the transitional and neoclassical styles with wonderful veneers and decorated with marquetry in geometric patterns, often favouring the inclusion of squares and cubes. Overall his work exudes a certain sobriety, by contrast to his brother's more floral and exuberant designs, mounted with bronzes that are purposeful rather than merely ornamental.

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