Object Details




Bernard II van Risenburgh (French, after 1696 - about 1766, master before 1730)




Paris, France (Place created)


about 1737


Oak set with panels of black Japanese lacquer and painted with vernis Martin; veneered with cherry and amaranth on interior of the doors; gilt-bronze mounts; sarrancolin marble top; eighteenth-century silk fabric lining and silver metal galon


88.3 x 151.9 x 57.8 cm (34 3/4 x 59 13/16 x 22 3/4 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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Lacquer from China and Japan had been imported into France since the 1600s because its decorative patterns and exotic character immediately appealed to wealthy consumers. In the 1700s increasing quantities of cabinets, screens, trays, and other shapes reached Europe and were adapted for use in Western interiors. By the 1730s it became fashionable to cut and apply the lacquer panels to new forms as a type of decorative veneer.

On this commode, the central oval panel of lacquer on the front was cut from the doors of a Japanese cabinet. The rest of the surface was painted in imitation of lacquer in a technique known as vernis Martin, after the Martin brothers, who invented the most successful and widely used imitation lacquer in the 1700s.

In 1737 the royal inventories recorded that the ébéniste Bernard van Risenburgh delivered a commode applied with lacquer panels to Louis XV's wife, Marie Leczinska. That delivery date helps scholars to date this similarly decorated commode.

1700s - 1900s

By repute, Colbert Family (France)

René Weiller (Paris, France)

- 1953

Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc. (New York City, New York), sold to J. Paul Getty, 1953.

1953 - 1965

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

Tales in Sprinkled Gold: Japanese Lacquer for European Collectors (March 3 to May 24, 2009)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), March 3 to May 24, 2009