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Gift of J. Paul Getty
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Attributed to the workshop of André-Charles Boulle
French, Paris, about 1710 - 1715
Oak veneered with satiné (bloodwood); gilt bronze mounts
H: 2 ft. 9 3/4 in. x W: 4 ft. 3 3/4 in. x D: 1 ft. 11 in.

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This small, solidly constructed chest of drawers is known as a commode, literally meaning "convenient" in French. Commodes first appeared at the end of the 1600s, replacing large chests for storage. With interiors divided by drawers, the commode provided a better distribution of interior space in a more elegant and accessible form than the earlier large chests. The commode became a very fashionable form of furniture during the 1700s.

In addition to its three drawers (a long one on top and two smaller ones below), this commode contains several other, less obvious storage places. The large, central gilt bronze mount is attached to the front of a narrow drawer, and the two lower drawers each have a deep base that was once hidden by a false bottom. The swelled concave and convex form is fairly typical for the early 1700s. The heavy form and massive sculptural mounts on this piece are typical of the workmanship of André-Charles Boulle, one of the most famous Parisian ébénistes in the early 1700s.

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