ebony, engraved brass, engraved pewter and tortoiseshell boulle marquetry, the central cupboard door beneath a medallion with the efigy to Louis XVI inscribed LVDOVICVS XIV D.G. FRAN ET NAV REX, and veneered to the reverse in rosewood with ebony bandings and opening to one shelf, the sides each fitted with four drawers, both with campan rubané breakfronted marble tops, one stamped three times HENRY DASSON, the other stamped twice HENRY DASSON/1878. five keys, four of which are original.
Eriksen. S, Early Néo- Classicism in France, 1974, p. 38-39, for a discussion on Etienne Levasseur apprenticeship to Boulle work marquetry under the direction of Charles-Joseph Boulle, son of the celebrated André-Charles Boulle
Alcouffe, Daniel, Cinq années d' enrichissement du Patrimoine National 1975-1980, p. 104-105
Alcouffe, Daniel, et al., Furniture Collections in the Louvre, Éditions Faton, Dijon, 1993, pp. 64-69, for illustrations and a discussion on the circa 1700 pair, attributed to André-Charles Boulle, at the Musée du Louvre ( OA 5453 and OA 5454)
Hughes, Peter, The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture, Vols. I-III, University Press, Cambridge, 1996, pp. 585-594 for illustrations and a discussion on the 18th. century pair, attributed to Etienne Levasseur, at the Wallace Collection (F.392)
Focarino, Joseph, et al., Furniture in the Frick Collection, Vol. V, pp. 247-257, for illustrations and a discussion on an English 19th century pair, at the Frick Collection (16.5.4 and 16.5.5)
Ledoux-Lébard, Denise, Le Mobilier Français du XIX Siècle, Les Éditions de l'Amateur, Paris, 2000, p. 137 for the illustration of this model by Joseph Cremer, circa 1850, and pp. 146-151 for notes on Henry Dasson
Henry Dasson established his workshop at 106, Rue Vielle du Temple, after a brief career at Rue des Nonnains-d' Hières in the fabrication of bronze artifacts and clocks in association with Godot. In 1871, he bought the workshop and stock for 14,000 francs from the widow of the ébéniste Charles-Guillaume Winckelsen, and soon became recognized as a brilliant ébéniste and bronzier. Specializing mostly in the production of works from the Garde Meuble National, he participated in the 1878 Paris Exposition Universelle prompting critic Louis Gonse to comment: 'nouveau venu dans la carrière industrielle Henri Dasson s'est rapidement crée par la perfection de ses oeuvres une très haute situation à laquelle nous applaudissons chaleureusement.' He was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur in 1883 and was awarded the Grand Prix Artistique at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle. When the business finally closed in 1894, an auction was organized clearing the remaining of his stock.
Although the origin of the present model is arguably from André-Charles Boulle's workshop, made circa 1700, it is interesting to compare the Boulle revival period that occurred during the second half of the 19th century with the earliest Boulle revival period, that occured in the 1760's, as seen in the works of cabinetmakers such as Etienne Levasseur, Philippe-Claude Montigny and Adam Weisweiler, who incorporated panels of late 17th/early 18th century Boulle marquetry into new pieces of furniture.
The pair of cabinets that belongued to the 4th Marquess of Hertford and now at the Wallace Collection, were lent to the Musée rétrospectif de Paris in 1865 and it was certainly from such mid 19th century celebrated exhibitions that leading French cabinetmakers drew their interest in copying and transforming this model. Interestingly, the 18th century originals differ from the present model in that the sides are fitted with faux boulle drawers opening as doors to reveal small drawers. Moreover, the portrait medallions depict Henri IV and Sully rather than Louis XIV. 18th century models can be seen at the Louvre in Paris, the Wallace Collection and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and The Metropolitain Museum and the Frick Collection in New York.
A pair of cabinets of same design by Joseph Cremer was sold, Butterfield, San Francisco, November 1, 2004, lot 5388, $ 204,250.
A pair of cabinets similar to the present lot and attributed to Etienne Levasseur, circa 1770, were sold by Etude Tajan, December 20, 2000, lot 255, FF 23,000,000 which is approximately $ 4, 669,748.55
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