Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Commode

Maker:
Jean Henri Riesener (French, Gladebeck, near Hessen 1734–1806 Paris)
Date:
ca. 1780–90
Culture:
French
Medium:
Oak, veneered with mahogany, gilt-bronze mounts, marble top
Dimensions:
34 x 36 1/2 x 17 3/4 in. (86.4 x 92.7 x 45.1 cm)
Classification:
Woodwork-Furniture
Credit Line:
The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982
Accession Number:
1982.60.51
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 540
The front is formed by a single wide drawer across the top above two front doors, which open to reveal a cupboard divided by a shelf. The breakfront design is treated so as to give the illusion that the central section is superimposed over the front. The projecting central section on the doors is framed as a single panel with a gilt-bronze molding chased with water leaves, indented at the corners to accommodate four rosettes (modern replacements); the same framing on the flanking areas ends at the edges of the projecting panel as though it continued behind it. The drawer is similarly designed. Riesener employed the breakfront throughout his career and repeated this particular treatment of it with variations on a number of commodes, corner cupboards, and secretaries from about 1780 to 1790 (examples are in the Louvre, Versailles, Waddesdon Manor, the Wallace Collection, London, the Metropolitan Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Detroit Institute of Arts, and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Malibu). The escutcheon mounts in the form of a female head framed by wreaths and bows, the apron mount with acanthus leaves and an acorn, the corner mounts of flowers modeled in high relief and tied by bows, and the mounts on the tapered legs with overlapping foliage are found on a number of other pieces by Riesener dating from the same decade. The use of the concave frieze is unusual in his work.
Signature: Stamped on left side of back: J.H. RIESENER
J.V.B. Saumerez (until 1957; sale, Sotheby's, London, May 31, 1957, lot 133) ; Jack and Belle Linsky (until 1982; to MMA)
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