Commode

Object Details

Title:

Commode

Artist/Maker:

Charles Cressent (French, 1685 - 1768, master 1719)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

1745 to 1750

Medium:

Fir, oak, and Scots pine veneered with bloodwood and amaranth; drawers of walnut; gilt-bronze mounts; brèche d'Alep top

Dimensions:

90.2 × 136.5 × 64.8 cm (35 1/2 × 53 3/4 × 25 1/2 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

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Charles Cressent made both the wooden carcass and gilt-bronze mounts for this commode. His practice of casting bronze in his workshop broke strict guild rules; through the eighteenth century, the craft of casting and gilding bronze was restricted to a separate guild. Cressent was fined several times for these infringements; in order to pay the penalties, he was forced to hold sales of his stock. In a catalogue he wrote in 1756 for one such sale, he describes this commode's unique central gilt-bronze mount: "the bronzes [represent] two children who are grating snuff; in the middle is a monkey powdering itself with snuff."

By the time it was built, this commode already looked old-fashioned. By the 1740s most commodes were constructed without a central divider that separated the two drawers. Although the curving gilt-bronze branches on the front try to mask this division, Cressent had to split the mount into three pieces--an awkward solution. He seems to have had difficulty selling the commode as it was still in his possession nearly twenty years after its construction.

Provenance
- 1757

Charles Cressent, French, 1685 - 1768, master 1719 [sold, Différens effets curieux du sieur Cressent ébéniste des palais de Feu S.A.R Monseigneur le duc d’Orléans, Brunet, Paris, January, 15, 1757, lot 132.]
Source: p. 28: "No. 132. Une commode de quatre pieds, marbre Brèche violette, les bronzes représentent deux enfans qui râpent du tabac, au milieu est un singe qui se poudre de tabac, dorés d’or moulu."

by 1914 - 1923

George Jay Gould, American, 1864 - 1923 (857 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York), by inheritance to the estate of his wife, Edith Kingdon Gould, 1923.
Source: Getty Research Institute, Duveen Collection, 960015, Box 459, Folder 3.

1923 - 1924/1925

Estate of Edith Kingdon Gould, American, 1864 - 1921, sold to Duveen Brothers, Inc., 1924/1925.
Source: Getty Research Institute, Duveen Collection, 960015, Box 458, Folder 5.

1924/1925 - 1928

Duveen Brothers, Inc. (New York, New York), sold to Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., 1928.
Source: Getty Research Institute, Duveen Collection, 960015, Box 459, Folder 4; Box 458, Folder 5; Box 21, Ser. I.A. NY Stock 1927-1928.

1928 - 1938

Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co. (New York, New York), sold to J. Paul Getty, 1938.
Source: Getty Research Institute, Duveen Collection, Box 167 NY Sales 1927-1930, Folder 3, Sale Book 16: June 1927 - May 1928.

1938 - 1970

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1970.

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