Collection Jansen Family, Cologne;
Collection Sculptor Michael Lock, Cologne and Berlin;
Collection 'Generalartzt' Dr. Hanson, Berlin
Collection Baron von Gwinner, Haus im Dol 46-48, Berlin, acquired in 1926 and thence by descent
As a man of the Enlightenment, Hardy showed a strong interest in people and human nature and therefore most of his oeuvres consist of genre and portrait illustrations. Hardy found the inspiration for his subjects especially in contemporary genre painting, figurative porcelain and prints.
The present cupboard originally contained around 48 Hardy tableaux, of which apparently 33 original tableaux are lost or were sold and the 15 remaining tableaux were subsequently completed along with 16 other Hardy tableaux. It is obvious that with Hardy and Johann Wilhelm Neel - who commissioned the piece - both being Cologne clergyman, Hardy the cathedral’s vicar and Neel a canon, that they were in regular and close contact with each other. The iconography of the original composition of the 48 tableaux therefore surely also express their mutual philosophical thoughts and beliefs.
Little is known about the Cologne cabinetmaker Commer. According to the available literature the maker of this cupboard was the ‘Kunsttischler’ Theodor Commer (1773–1853) mentioned in the archives as father of the composer and music scientist Franz Aloys Theodor Commer (1813-1887). Commer apparently was a pupil from the Roentgen workshop in Neuwied. The present cupboard does however present many of the characteristic Roentgen elements, such as the severe Neoclassical outline, the use of cherry wood and mahogany in combination with restrained brass inlay and even the use of the usually hidden mechanical devices such as the spring released hidden drawers in the interior of the present piece.
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