Son of François Cressent, sculptor to the King, Charles Cressent was born on 16 December 1685 into a prosperous family of talented craftsmen. He trained as a cabinetmaker and a sculptor and began as an apprentice with André-Charles Boulle. Following his marriage in 1719 to the widow of Joseph Poitou, cabinetmaker to the Regent Philippe d'Orléans, Cressent became one of the most sought after cabinetmakers in Paris. He delivered items to the French Crown and the aristocracy, including the Marquis de Marigny and the Duke of Richelieu, as well as King Joseph I of Portugal and the Elector of Bavaria.
The refurbishment of the Munich Residenz
Karl-Albrecht (1697-1745) who succeeded his father Max-Emmanuel as Elector of Bavaria in 1726, shared with the latter a strong interest for French furniture. Following the fire that destroyed the large apartments of the Munich Residenz in 1729, Karl-Albrecht, with the help of the architect François de Cuvilliés, undertook the redevelopment of the "Reiche Zimmer", then the apartments belonging to the Elector's wife Maria-Amalia of Austria (1701-1756), as well as the redecoration of the "Kaiser Zimmer", intended to receive princely guests.
This vast project, lasting from 1730 to 1737, was at the origin of an important program of acquisitions from the Parisian trade. To carry out his purchases, Karl-Albrecht, like his father before him, relied on the prince de Grimberghen, a French diplomat at the service of the Bavarian court in Paris. He was in charge of coordinating princely commissions with cabinetmakers workshops.
Today, the Munich Residenz still houses ten pieces of furniture by Cressent, forming an exceptional and rare homogenous set, the result of orders between 1730 and 1740. Only this pedestal, which for a time appears to have been placed in the chamber of the Elector's wife and commemorates her union with Karl-Albrecht in 1722, was separated from the ensemble at an undetermined date.
It was then found in the collection of the French diplomat and politician, Paul Dutasta (1873-1925), before appearing in the prestigious collections of Henry Walters, founder of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, the Belgian banker Cassel van Doorn, and finally with Martin and Pauline Alexander.
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