Object Details




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




about 1740


Oak set with panels of red Chinese lacquer and painted with vernis Martin; gilt-bronze mounts; breche d'Alep top


83.8 x 114.3 x 54.9 cm (33 x 45 x 21 5/8 in.)

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Bernard van Risenburgh veneered the front and side of this French commode with paper-thin sheets of Chinese red lacquer. Another specialized Parisian craftsman, as yet unidentified, painted the remaining wood surfaces of the carcass in imitation of a plain red lacquer, using the technique now generally known as vernis Martin. Van Risenburgh then applied gilt bronze mounts to cover and protect the seams of the Chinese red lacquer veneer.

A marchand-mercier, a Parisian dealer who bought Asian goods and re-made them for sale to French clients, probably commissioned the work from the craftsmen. Since the French particularly admired the lacquer surfaces of cabinets, chests, and screens imported from China and Japan, such dealers removed the lacquer panels from their original wooden supports and reattached them to traditional French furniture forms.

Imagining the Orient (October 5, 2004 to April 3, 2005)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center, (Los Angeles), October 5, 2004 to April 3, 2005