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Part of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts
Jean Henri Riesener (French, Gladebeck, near Hessen 1734–1806 Paris)
Date: 1783Accession Number: 20.155.11
Date: 1778Accession Number: 33.12
Date: 1783Accession Number: 20.155.12
Made by Nicolas Huyot (1700–1791)
Date: ca. 1768–72, with later additionsAccession Number: 42.203.1
Jean Antoine Houdon (French, Versailles 1741–1828 Paris)
Date: 1773Accession Number: 1974.291
Date: ca. 1787–88Accession Number: 1973.315.6–.9
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Devoted to the decorative arts of seventeenth- and especially eighteenth-century France, The Wrightsman Galleries (522–529, 531–533, and 545–547) display the Museum's holdings of furniture, Savonnerie carpets, gilt bronze, Sèvres porcelain, silver, and gold boxes. Since the 1963 acquisition of the paneling from the Hôtel de Varengeville and the Palais Paar with funds given by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, these rooms have borne the Wrightsmans' name.
Enriching the Museum's already strong collections of French decorative arts, many of the objects and furnishings on display here were gifts of Mr. and Mrs. Wrightsman. The paneling of this formal room displays refined carving in the Neoclassical style which was created in about 1768–1772 for Hôtel de Tessé, a Parisian townhouse situated along the Seine River. It is furnished with contemporary pieces, including several that belonged to Marie Antoinette, such as the mechanical table made by Jean-Henri Riesener in 1778. Also placed in this room are the queen's black lacquer commode and secretary, supplied by Riesener in 1783 to Versailles, and her gilt-bronze wall sconces from Saint Cloud. The striking bust of Denis Diderot sculpted by Jean-Antoine Houdon is a particular highlight.
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