Writing and Toilette Table

Object Details

Title:

Writing and Toilette Table

Artist/Maker:

Jean-François Oeben (French, born Germany, 1721 - 1763, master 1761)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1755–1760

Medium:

White oak veneered with kingwood, tulipwood, amaranth, boxwood, holly, barberry, stained hornbeam, bloodwood, sycamore maple, stained maple, ebony; leather; silk fabric lining; gilt bronze mounts; brass and iron fittings and lock; iron screws

Object Number:

71.DA.103

Dimensions:

71.1 × 80 × 42.8 cm (28 × 31 1/2 × 16 7/8 in.)

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When unlocked, the top of this small table may be slid back, revealing a drawer covered with a sliding lid veneered with marquetry. By pressing a button, the sliding lid releases, showing silk-lined compartments that may once have held writing materials and various pots for powder, rouge, and beauty patches. This table would probably have been placed in the bedroom, where it would serve for both dressing and writing.

The fine floral marquetry on the top of the table is characteristic of the work of Jean-François Oeben, a royal ébéniste. The naturalistically arranged bouquet represented on the top surface contains various flowers including roses, tulips, and daffodils. A garland of blossoms appears to hang from a grill above. At the four corners, a lion, a swan, a dove, and a salamander represent the four elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. The trellis marquetry around the sides of the table and floral marquetry on top are formed from small pieces of wood dyed in various shades, including blue and green, all of which are now almost completely faded.

Provenance
- before 1912

John George Stewart Murray, Marquess of Tullibardine, eighth duke of Atholl, Scottish, 1871 - 1942 (Scotland), sold or by gift to Mary Gavin Baillie-Hamilton, before 1912.
Source: Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272; GRI, Photo Archive, Seligmann Collection, 89.P.7 Box 15. The identity of the Marquess is based on the fact that he only had this title until 1917.

before 1912

Mary Gavin Baillie-Hamilton (Hon. Mrs. Robert Baillie-Hamilton), Scottish, 1832 - 1912, sold or by gift to Lady Harvey, before 1912.
Source: Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272: "Collection of Mrs. Mary Gavin Baillie Hamilton;" GRI, Photo Archive, Seligmann Collection, 89.P.7 Box 15.

before 1912 -

Lady Harvey (London, England)
Source: Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272: "Collection of Lady Harvey, London;" GRI, Photo Archive, Seligmann Collection, 89.P.7 Box 15.

-

Lewis & Simmons (Paris, France), sold to Elbert H. Gary.
Source: Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H. Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272: "From Lewis and Simmons, Paris."

- 1927

Elbert H. Gary, American, 1846 - 1927 (New York, New York), upon his death, held in trust by the estate.
Source: Ronald Freyberger, “Great Auctions of the Past. The Judge Elbert H. Gary Sale.” Auction 2, no. 10 (June 1969), p. 10-13.

1927-1928

Estate of Elbert H. Gary, American, 1846 - 1927 [sold, Collection of the Estate of the Late Judge Elbert H. Gary, American Art Association, April 21, 1928, lot 272, to Duveen Brothers Inc.]

1928

Duveen Brothers, Inc. (New York, New York), sold to John D. Rockefeller, 1928.
Source: Collector's files: Gary, E. H., 2, ca. 1927-1936, Duveen Brothers Records, GRI, 960015, box 455, folder 4, and Collector's files: Rockefeller, J.D., Jr., 5, ca. 1926-1929, box 505, folder 2; Duveen Brothers Stock Documentation, GRI, 2007.D.1, box 516.

1928 - 1960

John D. Rockefeller, Jr., American, 1874 - 1960 (New York, New York), by inheritance to his wife, Martha Baird Rockefeller, 1960.
Source: Collectors' files: Gary, E. H., 2, ca. 1927-1936, Duveen Brothers Records, GRI, 960015, box 455, folder 4; Collectors' files: Rockefeller, J.D., Jr., 5, ca. 1926-1929, box 505, folder 2.

1960 - 1971

Martha Baird Rockefeller, American, 1895 - 1971 (New York, New York) [sold, Property of the Estate of the Late Martha Baird Rockefeller, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, October 23, 1971, lot 712, through the Antique Porcelain Company to the J. Paul Getty Museum.]
Source: Ronald Freyberger, “Great Auctions of the Past. The Judge Elbert H. Gary Sale.” Auction 2, no. 10 (June 1969), p. 10-13.

Exhibitions
The Making of Furniture (October 7, 2003 to October 23, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), October 7, 2003 to October 23, 2005
Bibliography

Wilson, Gillian. "The J. Paul Getty Museum: 6ème partie: Les Meubles Baroques." Connaissance des Arts 279 (May 1975), p. 111, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 1st ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 166.

Paredes, Liana. "Mueble Frances en el Museo Getty." Antiquaria 4, no. 38 (1987), p. 26, ill.

Kjellberg, Pierre. Le Mobilier français du XVIIIe siècle: Dictionnaire des ébénistes et des menuisiers (Paris: Éditions de l'Amateur, 1989), p. 619.

Pradère, Alexandre. French Furniture Makers: The Art of the Ébéniste from Louis XIV to the Revolution (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1989), p. 255, fig. 264.

Pradère, Alexandre. Les ébénistes français de Louis XIV à la Révolution (Paris: Chêne, 1989), p. 255, fig. 264.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 3rd ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), p. 182.

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), p. 52, no. 67.

Godla, Joseph, and Gordon Hanlon. "Some Applications of Adobe Photoshop for the Documentation of Furniture Conservation." Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 34, no. 3 (Fall/Winter 1995), p. 169, fig. 12.

Auslander, Leora. Taste and Power: Furnishing Modern France (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996), p. 55, fig. 5.

Ramond, Pierre. Chefs-d'oeuvre des marqueteurs. Vol. 2, De la Régence à nos jours (Dourdan: Éditions H. Vial, 1996), p. 31, 148-153, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 216.

Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Decorative Arts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 97, no. 75.

Baumeister, Mechthild, et al. "Gebeizte Maserfurniere auf historischen Möbeln.” Arbeitshefte des Bayerischen Landesamtes für Denkmalpflege, Arbeitsheft 81 (1997), p. 256, fig. 11.

Ramond, Pierre. Chefs d'oeuvre des marqueteurs. Vol. 3, Marqueteurs d'exception (Dourdan: Éditions H. Vial, 1999), p. 12-13, ill.

Ramond, Pierre. Masterpieces of Marquetry. Vol. 3, Outstanding Marqueters (Los Angeles: The J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), p. 12-13, cover, ill.

Ramond, Pierre. Masterpieces of Marquetry. Vol. 2, From the Régence to the Present Day (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000), p. 31, 148-153, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 216, ill.

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. 36-37, no. 64.

Stratmann-Döhler, Rosemarie. Jean-François Oeben, 1721-1763 (Paris: Éditions de l’Amateur and Perrin & Fils, 2002), p. 96-97, ill, 182.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 7th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2007), p. 240, ill.

Kopf, Silas. A Marquetry Odyssey: Historical Objects and Personal Work (Manchester, VT: Hudson Hills Press, 2008), p. 106-107, fig. 134.

Baarsen, Reinier. Paris 1650-1900: Decorative Arts in the Rijksmuseum (New Haven: Yale University Press, with Rijksmuseum, 2013), pp. 177, 179.

Durand, Jannic ed. et al. Decorative Furnishings and Objets d'Art in the Louvre (Paris: Musée du Louvre, 2014), p. 386.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 288, back cover, ill.

Education Resources

Education Resource

Subjects

Grades

Format

Looking at French Decorative Arts

The Function of Furniture

In this lesson students learn about and discuss decorative arts objects and their functions.

Visual Arts; English–Language Arts; ESL (English as a Second Language)

Adult Learners

Single Class Lesson

Related Media
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    Audio: Table (Oeben)