A Louis XIV style Boulle commode
Lot 1187WY
A superb Louis XIV style gilt-bronze mounted cut brass and tortoiseshell ebonized commode mazarine
Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener
after a model by André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732)
fourth quarter 19th century
Sold for US$ 128,000 inc. premium
Lot Details
A superb Louis XIV style gilt-bronze mounted cut brass and tortoiseshell ebonized commode mazarine
Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener
after a model by André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732)
fourth quarter 19th century
The rectangular onyx top with chamfered edge over a shaped case fitted with two long drawers, raised on cabriole legs headed by winged caryatids trailing to lion paw sabots, the whole decorated with Boulle panels of foliate scroll and flowerhead ornament, stamped twice E.ZWIENER to top of carcass.
height 34in (86.5cm); width 48in (122cm); depth 25in (63.5cm)

Footnotes

  • The magnificent chest of drawers is based on a pair of commodes that André Charles Boulle delivered to Louis XIV in 1708 and 1709 for his bedchamber at the Grand Trianon, Versailles. Boulle had been one of the King's favorite cabinetmakers for some time when he delivered what he called his "bureaux," but these were of a form never seen previously in the history of French furniture making. Starting from a sarcophagus shape, Boulle raised the carcass on cabriole legs and fitted the front with two long drawers, producing what was the very first commode.

    After Louis XIV's death, the commodes remained in the Trianon for decades, until they were fortuitously transferred to the royal Garde-Meuble in 1790, thus escaping sale in the post-revolutionary auctions. Several years later, they were placed in the Bibliothèque Mazarine (where they gained their name commodes mazarines), until they were finally brought back to Versailles.

    The success of these commodes was such that already in Boulle's lifetime other examples were made, notably one attributed to Boulle's workshop, today housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (from the Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982.60.82). In the nineteenth century, versions were made by Dasson, Winckelsen, Linke, Beurdeley and Blake of London. An almost identical example by Joseph Emmanuel Zwiener is illustrated in: Camille Mestdagh, L'Ameublement d'art français 1850-1900, Les Editions de l'Amateur, 2010, p. 75.

    This model continues to be highly successful: an example by Blake of London was sold at Christie's London in May 2009 for £145,250, a pair by the same maker realized $577,000 at Christie's New York in October 25, 2007, and a pair by Henry Dasson sold a day earlier at Sotheby's New York for $853,000.

    The present commode by Zwiener is remarkable not only for its quality of execution, but also for the fact that it seems to have remained largely untouched since its fabrication, an extremely rare case for such pieces, notorious for their fragility.

    For information on Zwiener, please see lot 1191.
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