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A fine gilt-bronze mounted Cuba mahogany table console, Louis XVI, attributed to Jean-Ferdinand Schwerdfeger
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 106,250 EUR
JUMP TO LOT
99
A fine gilt-bronze mounted Cuba mahogany table console, Louis XVI, attributed to Jean-Ferdinand Schwerdfeger
Estimate
60,00080,000
LOT SOLD. 106,250 EUR
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

L’Élégance Intemporelle, Paris, Rive-Gauche

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Paris

A fine gilt-bronze mounted Cuba mahogany table console, Louis XVI, attributed to Jean-Ferdinand Schwerdfeger
the seatrail with palmettes, on six octagonal and tapered legs brought together with a shelve; the top and the shelve with a grey and blue marble of Saint-Béat
Haut. 84 cm, larg. 131 cm, prof. 41 cm; Height 33 in, width 51 1/2 in, depth 16 1/4 in
Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

Jacques Perrin Gallery, Paris

Literature

Literature references:
- P. Kjellberg, Le mobilier français du XVIIIe siècle. Dictionnaire des ébénistes et des menuisiers, Paris, 2002, pp. 841-843
- M.-A. Paulin, « Schwerdfeger, ébéniste de Marie-Antoinette », in L'Estampille L'Objet d'Art, n°384, October 2003, pp. 66-79
- Exh. cat. 18e, Aux sources du design, Dijon, 2014, p. 258

Catalogue Note

Among the German cabinet-makers who worked in Paris on the eve of the Revolution, Jean-Ferdinand Schwerdfeger remains one of the lesser unknown. Born in Lower Saxony in 1734, he settled in Paris in the 1780s, on rue Saint-Sébastien. Receiving master status late at the age of 52, on 26 May 1786, few pieces of furniture bearing his stamp have been discovered. However, the famous jewellery case that Queen Marie Antoinette ordered from him in 1787 is proof that the high quality of his productions was already established. The prestigious decoration on this exceptional piece of furniture, housed in the Versailles Château, required the intervention of renowned artisans: the ornamentalist Jean Démosthène Dugourc, the caster Martincourt, the chaser Thomire, the gilder Mellet, the sculptor Boizot, the engraver Libouis, the painters Lagrenée, Sauvage, De Gault, as well as the silk merchant Nau. The Queen's affinity for achievements by German cabinetmakers was already well affirmed since she had made Riesener, cabinet-maker to the Crown, her personal cabinetmaker.

Schwerdfeger probably took advantage of the disgrace of his compatriot in 1784, since the Queen commissioned him, as early as 1786, furniture for her bedroom at Trianon. Consisting of a commode, a table, and a console table, these furnishings, delivered in 1788, are now partially kept in its initial location, only the commode belongs to the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The royal console table is not without some analogies with ours. Though the decoration differ, mainly with basket willow and trellis motifs, the structure of the two furnitures can be compared. The trapezoidal table top and cross-table are supported by six feet joined together.

Jean-Ferdinand Schwerdfeger's productions are characterized by a great attention to details: mahogany-veneered oak frames, adjustable assemblies, feet mountings with threaded rods and copper nuts, concealed fixation of the bronzes. The latter are always of an admirable finesse, which suggests that his collaboration with the bronze artisans Thomire, Duport and Morant, and the gilder Mellet was not ephemeral. Unlike Marie Antoinette's console table, our console table has a very aerial aspect, by its small concave sides and the absence of a back panel. The bluish grey marble of Saint-Béat (Haute-Garonne) table top is supported by a thin mahogany-veenered apron, molded and decorated with a chased and gilt bronze frieze. This alternates with stylized florets and palmettes, like the top frieze of the Queen's jewellery case. Bronze threading with motifs of water leaves, heart-leaves, beads, and olives with foliages approach to frame it. The capitals chased with spear-shaped leaves adorn the upper part of the six legs with hexagonal sectioning, while thin patterns of vine branches climb to their base. The gallery adorning the small cross-bar table is quite remarkable with Greek motifs that compose it, atop the point. Six toupie feet with bronze tips support the entire structure.

A pair of high shelf corners with similar decor is today probably listed in a private collection, and would have been executed for the same patron. The latter still remains unknown to date, few archives enable us to retrace precisely our cabinetmaker's career amidst the pivotal political scene during the Revolution. An inventory drawn up in 1803, on the death of his wife, nevertheless confirms that he then possessed a prosperous workshop, until his death in 1818. He was then specialized in mahogany clock cases. We recall his collaboration with the famous clock maker Antide Janvier after 1789 with an impressive clock with a moving sphere and a planisphere, known as an "astronomical masterpiece", now belonging to a private collection.

L’Élégance Intemporelle, Paris, Rive-Gauche

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Paris