PROPERTY OF A MEMBER OF THE OLDENBURG FAMILY
This commode is an impressive example of the geometrical marquetry offset by husk swag mounts produced circa 1780 by Mathieu-Guillaume Cramer (?-1804, reçu Maître 1771), originating from Grevenbroich, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. While the beginnings of Cramer are unknown, he must certainly trained as an apprentice in Paris. Since it was customary at the time for a master to be present at his apprentice’s marriage and both Gilles Joubert and Martin Carlin attended Cramer’s wedding, it is believed that either Joubert or Carlin was Cramer’s teacher. Soon after his marriage with Marthe-Suzanne-Françoise Collet, daughter of the Parisian ébéniste Isaac-Edmont Collet and niece of Gilles Joubert, ébéniste du Roi, Cramer became a master on September 4th, 1771.
The activity of Cramer as both a dealer and ébéniste was particularly active between 1772 and 1780. With five workshops, he employed several workers and apprentices, and used the services of bronze casters such as D. Monot and Antoine-André Ravrio to produce at least 20 furniture pieces a year.
Cramer is considered as a meticulous and skilled ébéniste whose works range from the Louis XV-Louis XVI Transition and Louis XVI styles. His reputation for his choice of marquetry geometrical decorations composed of floral, rosette and quatrefoil motifs, and overall originality, is identified through this splendid commode. Two related commodes stamped by Cramer are now in museum collections, one in the collection of the Nissim de Camondo Museum, Paris (Inv. CAM 636), the other in the collection of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (Inv. W. 3:1. 8-1940).
In comparison to the two commodes in museum collections and from those related examples sold in auctions at Christie’s New York, 5 November 1986, lot 202; Christie’s New York, 21 October 1997, lot 214; Christie’s New York, 19 October 2007, lot 220; and Christie’s Paris, 13 April 2017, lot 239, $50,488, this present commode differs by the choice in design of the gilt-bronze mounts. Here, the apron depicts a neoclassical vase with a bouquet, and the four corners of the gilt-bronze frame bordering each marquetry decoration showcase leaves, instead of the patere as seen in his other works.
Peter I, Grand Duke of Oldenburg (1755 –1829)
Peter I or Peter Frederick Ludwig of Holstein-Gottorp (1755 –1829) acted as the regent of the Duchy of Oldenburg between 1785 and 1823 for his incapacitated cousin Peter Frederick William (1754-1823). From 1785 until 1803, he also served as the last Lutheran Prince-Bishop of Lübeck, until that Prince-Bishopric joined the House of Oldenburg. From 1823, following the death of his cousin, he served as Peter I, Duke of Oldenburg until his death in 1829. Although the Duchy of Oldenburg had been elevated to a Grand Duchy on 9 June 1815, he refrained from using this title and it was later his son, Augustus, who officially used Grand Duke in his title.
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