Commode

Object Details

Title:

Commode

Artist/Maker(s):

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

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1745 - 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 x 136.5 x 64.8 cm (35 1/2 x 53 3/4 x 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
by 1914 - 1923

George Jay Gould, 1864 - 1923 (857 Fifth Avenue, New York City, New York)

1924/1925 - 1928

Duveen Brothers, Inc. (New York City, New York), received from the estate of Edith Kingdom Gould, 1924-1925, sold to Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co., New York, February 24th, 1928.

1928 - 1938

Arnold Seligmann, Rey and Co. (New York City, New York), sold to J. Paul Getty, October 21, 1938.

1938 - 1970

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

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