Commode

Object Details

Title:

Commode

Artist/Maker:

Attributed to Joseph Baumhauer (French, died 1772)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

early to mid-1750s

Medium:

White oak veneered with ebony and a wood possibly identified as service tree, set with panels of Japanese lacquer on Japanese arborvitae, and painted with European lacquer; drawers of white oak; brass and iron hardware and lock; gilt-bronze mounts; campan mélange vert marble top

Object Number:

55.DA.2

Dimensions:

88.3 × 146.1 × 62.6 cm (34 3/4 × 57 1/2 × 24 5/8 in.)

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Every part of this commode is of the highest quality. The front and sides are set with panels of Japanese lacquer that were removed from an imported chest. Delicately chased meandering gilt-bronze mounts hide the seams of the panels, and imitation nashiji, a clear lacquer sprinkled with gold, covers the remaining surfaces. Even the thick marble top is carved both above and below its rim, an unusual refinement.

This commode exemplifies the European passion for objects from the Far East and the Parisian taste for transforming these foreign goods into quintessentially French wares. While its form is strictly French, the three panels of imported Japanese lacquer are the focus of the design. Originally of brown lacquer, the ébéniste painted the ground of the panels black and added gold decoration in a technique known as vernis Martin.

Although the commode is not stamped with the name of a cabinetmaker, it is attributed to the cabinetmaker Joseph Baumhauer because it resembles other works stamped with his name. Two trade labels, one on top of the commode under the marble and one underneath the commode, identify the marchand-mercier Charles Darnault, a dealer who sold luxury goods in his Paris shop, Au Roy d'Espagne, as the source of this commode.

Provenance
- 1955

Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, American, 1875 - 1968 (London, England), sold through Sir Robert Henry Edward Abdy, fifth Bart., English, 1896 - 1976, to J. Paul Getty, 1955.
Source: Correspondence between Norris Bramlett and Sir Alfred Chester Beatty, October 3, 1955. J. Paul Getty Museum Early Administrative Records, 1939, 1949-1986, undated. The Getty Research Institute (IA10003).

1955-1976

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, upon his death, held in trust by the estate.

1976-1978

Estate of J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, distributed to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978.

Bibliography

Getty, J. Paul, and Ethel Le Vane. Collector's Choice: The Chronicle of an Artistic Odyssey through Europe (London: W. H. Allen, 1955), unpaginated, ill. facing p. 336.

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Getty, J. Paul. Chefs-d'oeuvre de la collection J. Paul Getty (Monaco: Jaspard, Polus & Cie, 1963), pp. 114-115.

Getty, J. Paul. The Joys of Collecting (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1965), pp. 144-145, ill.

Boutemy, André. “L'ébéniste Joseph Baumhauer.” Connaissance des Arts 157 (March 1965), p. 85.

Watson, F. J. B. The Wrightsman Collection. Vol. 1, Furniture (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1966), p. 152.

Wilson, Gillian. "The J. Paul Getty Museum: 6ème partie: Les Meubles Baroques." Connaissance des Arts 279 (May 1975), p. 106.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), pp. 145, 154.

Wilson, Gillian. Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1977), p. 50, no. 64.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 161.

Augarde, Jean-Dominique. "1749 Joseph Baumhauer: ébéniste privilégié du roi." L'Estampille 204 (June 1987), p. 36.

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The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 211, ill.

Harwood, Buie, Bridget May, and Curt Sherman. Architecture and Interior Design through the 18th Century: An Integrated History (Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2002), n.p., color plate 56.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 233, ill.

Heginbotham, Arlen and Michael Schilling. "New evidence for the use of Southeast Asian raw materials in 17th Century Japanese export lacquer." In East Asian Lacquer: Material Culture, Science and Conservation (London: Archetype, 2011), pp. 93-94, 95, figs. 2, 6.

Heginbotham, Arlen. "Bronzes dorés: A technical approach to examination and authentication of French gilt bronze." In French Bronze Sculpture: Materials and Techniques 16th -18th Century (London: Archetype, 2014), pp. 151-153, fig. 2.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 282, ill.

Herda-Mousseaux, Rose-Marie. "La Dynastie des Darnault." In La Fabrique du luxe : Les marchands merciers parisiens au XVIIIe siècle, exh. cat. (Paris, France: Musée Cognacq-Jay, 2018), pp. 80-87, fig. 25, p. 81, fig. 25.