Secrétaire à abattant

Object Details

Title:

Secrétaire à abattant

Artist/Maker(s):

Martin Carlin (French, born Germany, about 1730 - 1785, master 1766)

Circular plaque painted by Jean-Jacques Pierre le jeune (French, about 1745 - about 1800, active Sèvres, 1763 - 1800)

Two frieze and two spandrel plaques painted by Claude Couturier (French, died 1775, active 1762 - 1775)

Central frieze plaque gilded by Etienne-Henri Le Guay (French, 1719/1720 - about 1799, active 1748 - 1749, 1751 - 1796)

Sèvres Manufactory (French, active 1756 - present)

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Sèvres France Paris France (Place created)

Date:

about 1775

Medium:

Oak veneered w/ebony, holly, stained holly, amaranth and tulipwood, incised w/colored mastics, set w/soft-paste porcelain plaques w/bleu céleste ground color, polychrome enamel and gilding; gilt-bronze mounts; white marble top

Dimensions:

120 x 94 x 34 cm (47 1/4 x 37 x 13 3/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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Many new styles of writing desks appeared in the 1700s. Desks such as this delicate model were not designed for serious work; rather, these precious objects ornamented the room while providing their owners with a place to lock up their private letters. The front of this piece opens to reveal a velvet-lined writing surface and several drawers surrounding a pigeonhole.

Parisian marchands-merciers were the first to use Sèvres porcelain plaques to decorate furniture. Creating a writing desk like this one was a complicated process involving many stages. First the dealer commissioned a design and ordered plaques from the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory. He then selected an ébéniste to make and veneer the carcass of the desk, leaving space for the plaques. A variety of craftsmen designed and made the gilt bronze mounts. Another specialized worker lined the drawers with silk or velvet. Finally, the ébénisteassembled the desk and returned it to the dealer to be sold.

The two frieze and two spandrel plaques were painted by Claude Couturier. The central frieze plaque was gilded by Pierre-André Le Guay.

Provenance
by 1903 -

Baron Nathaniel (Mayer) von Rothschild, Austrian, 1836 - 1905 (Vienna, Austria)

- 1938

Baron Alphonse (Mayer) von Rothschild, Austrian, 1878 - 1942 (Vienna, Austria), looted by the Nazis, March 1938.

1938 -

In the possession of the Nazis

1947 - 1950

Restituted to Baronin Clarice von Rothschild, Austrian, 1874 - 1967 (Vienna, Austria), widow of Baron Alphonse (Mayer) von Rothschild, sent to New York shortly afterward and sold privately in 1950.

1950

Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc. (New York City, New York), sold to J. Paul Getty, 1950.

1950 - 1965

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1965.

Bibliography

Rothschild, Baron Nathaniel de. Notizen über einige meiner Kunstgegenstände (1903), p. 128, no. 319.

Wescher, Paul. "French Furniture of the Eighteenth Century in the J. Paul Getty Museum." Art Quarterly 18, no. 2 (Summer 1955), pp. 131, 134, ill.

"Vingt Mille Lieues dans les musées." Connaissance des arts no. 57 (November 1956), pp. 76-81, ill.

Packer, Charles. Paris Furniture by the Master Ebénistes (Newport, Monmouthshire, 1956), p. 59, fig. 175A.

Reitlinger, Gerald. The Economics of Taste (New York, 1963), vol. 2, p. 426.

Getty, J. Paul. The Joys of Collecting (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1965), p. 156-57, ill.

Watson, Francis J.B. The Wrightsman Collection (New York, 1966), p. 190.

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. 176-77.

Wilson, Gillian. "The J. Paul Getty Museum, 7ème partie: Le Mobilier Louis XVI." Connaissance des arts (June 1975), p. 97, ill.

Zick, Gisela. "Die russische Wahrsagerin, Ein Tisch für Marie Karoline von Neapel." Kunst und Antiquitäten 4-5 (1984), pp. 36-37, pl. 4.

Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 21, no. 46.

Baarsen, Reinier J. "Rond een Nederlandse Lodewijk XVI secretaire op Het Loo." Antiek 7 (February 1986), pp. 384-95.

Kjellberg, Pierre. Le Mobilier français du XVIIIe siècle: Dictionnaire des ébénistes et des menuisiers (Paris: Editions de l'Amateur, 1989), p. 162.

Alcouffe, Daniel. "Secrétaire à abbattant." Louvre: Nouvelles acquisitions du départment des objets d'art, 1985-1989 (Paris, 1990), p. 154, no. 71.

Sassoon, Adrian. Vincennes and Sèvres Porcelain: Catalogue of the Collections (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), pp. 174-77, no. 35.

Bremer-David, Charissa et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993), pp. 39-40, no. 47.

Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), pp. 27-28, no. 47.