PROPERTY FORMERLY IN THE COLLECTION OF DR. ALEXANDRE BENCHOUFI
With its well-proportioned decorative scheme enhanced by an understated acajou moucheté veneer, this commode may well be the finest piece produced or stamped by Joseph Kochly (1748-1798, maître in 1783) an ébéniste active in the cour Saint-Joseph, rue de Charonne, who appears to have otherwise favoured bureaux cylindre in a sombre, late Louis XVI style - all in acajou mouluré - and who also seems to have retailed pieces of furniture by other ébénistes in his magazin.
The finely chased and gilt mounts can be related to those found on a relevant group of furniture stamped by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806). Most notably, the foliate escutcheons tête de Diane appear on a secrétaire à abattant delivered by Riesener to Queen Marie Antoinette at Versailles in 1783 and now in the Wallace Collection, London (inv. F 303), on a breakfront cabinet in the Royal Collection (RCIN 21211), on a commode in the Metropolitan Museum, New York (1982.60.51), and on an encoigneure in the Chicago Art Institute (1945.185).
Furthermore, the scrolls and acanthus leaves frieze also appear on another secrétaire by Riesener formerly in the collection of the Duchesse de Talleyrand, now in a private collection, on a secrétaire with rounded fluted column angles sold Sotheby’s London, 19 May 1974, lot 74, and on two commodes à encoigneures sold Christie’s Monaco, 3 July 1993, lot 197, and Christie’s New York, 30 October 1993, lot 374, respectively.
Finally, the gilt-bronze frame on the front and sides, marked with rosettes at the corners, typical of Riesener’s oeuvre, is also found on the aforementioned pieces in London, Chicago, and New York. Outside this group the same keyhole escutcheons only appear on a commode stamped Beneman of similar outline with outset rounded corners; it is interesting to note that it was Beneman who replaced Riesener as ébéniste du roi in 1785.
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