Desk (bureau "Mazarin")

Object Details

Title:

Desk (bureau "Mazarin")

Artist/Maker(s):

Unknown

Culture:

French

Place(s):

Paris, France (Place created)

Date:

about 1692 - 1700

Medium:

Fir, veneered with brass, copper, silver, ebony, bone, horn (some painted blue, green, orange and red and laid on gold foil), mother-of-pearl, and tortoiseshell; drawers of beech, oak, walnut; silvered-bronze mount; silk velvet; steel key

Dimensions:

70.5 x 88.9 x 50.8 cm (27 3/4 x 35 x 20 in.)

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Designed as a showpiece rather than for actual use, nearly the entire surface of this delicate little table is covered with a colorful veneer of various exotic materials, including brass, tortoiseshell, copper, pewter, ebony, ivory, mother-of-pearl, and horn painted red, blue, and green. An elaborate array of objects decorates the surface, including reclining figures, birds, animals, cupids, and vases of fruit and flowers. The feet of the desk are made from brass covered with silver, and silvered tassels hang from the drawers.

The desk was made for Maximilian Emanuel, the Elector of Bavaria, who developed a taste for French furniture when he was exiled in Paris around 1700. The central coat of arms on the top of the desk, beneath an electoral crown, flanked by the standing lions of Bavaria, and surrounded by the order of the Golden Fleece, replaced the earlier arms of the Elector. However, the original steel key of this desk survives, decorated with Maximilian Emanuel's monogram and the electoral crown.

Bibliography

"Acquisitions/1987." The J. Paul Getty Museum Journal 16 (1988), pp. 176-77, no. 66.

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), pp. 34-35, no. 40.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 4th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), p. 191.

Masterpieces of the J. Paul Getty Museum: Decorative Arts (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1997), pp. 64-65, no. 47.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 6th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001), p. 191, 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), p. 23, no. 40.

Wilson, Gillian, et al. French Furniture and Gilt Bronzes: Baroque and Régence, Catalogue of the J. Paul Getty Museum Collection (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2008) pp. 82-95, no. 7.