- French (Paris), ca. 1750
- By Bernard II van Risenburgh (French, after 1696–ca. 1766, master before 1730)
- White oak* veneered with bloodwood*, kingwood*, and amaranth*; drawers of walnut* and white oak; gilt bronze mounts; brass, steel, and iron locks; modern campan grand mélange marble tops
- H: 2 ft. 10 3/16 in., W: 3 ft. 3 15/16 in., D: 1 ft. 10 1/16 in. (86.8 × 101.4 × 56 cm)
Each rectangular commode has a bowed front and sides and is raised on four six-sided cabriole legs. The campan grand mélange marble top is of conforming shape and has a molded edge. The front corners are set with large pierced mounts that extend down to the top of each forward leg. Cast in one piece or soldered together, the lower pierced section consists of opposed foliate scrolls terminating in pierced flame work. Above, rising from stylized oak leaves, is a large oak leaf bearing cabochons and supporting a small oak twig bearing an acorn and two cups. The upper part of the mount is cast with a burst of flame motif surrounding an aperture from which depends a branch of oak with leaves, acorns, and cups. Held in this branch is a hunting trophy consisting of a horn, a spear, a powder flask, and a bow; on the alternate corner, a quiver, a gun, and a bag.
The front of each commode (fig. 7-1) is set with a large asymmetrical framing mount consisting of foliate C-scrolls, C-scrolls edged with a pierced flame motif set with small cabochons, and hipped scrolls forming at the top right small plinths. Convolvulus and roses twine among the scrolls at the upper corner. The keyhole pierces a large flame motif set between scrolls at the center of the top drawer. The apron takes the form of a large leaf set with cabochons. One frond of the leaf extends below the lower profile of the commode, which is edged along the front and sides and down the outer edges of the legs with a plain gilt bronze molding. This molding is lacking, from the middle of the sides and extending down the corners of the back legs, from commode .2.
A semicircular disc of wood has been attached to the front lower edge of the bottom drawer to receive the apron and its adjoining mounts. When the drawer is closed, this semi-disc fits into a corresponding shape carved out of the carcass in that area.
The front of the lower drawer is set with a leaping stag at bay and two hounds. All are set on a strip of rocky ground that is sparsely covered with tufts of grass. A keyhole pierces the central tuft.
The sides of the commode are set with large framing mounts, each of the same design (fig. 7-2). Separate models for the left and right sides have not been made, and in order to make the left frame seem different from the right, a section of pierced flame work has been removed. Lacking from all four framing mounts are the tips of the central frond of a large leaf carrying cabochons, set at the center of the lower frame. The frame is composed of elements similar to those on the front, with the addition of an area of pierced guilloche and a small section of rock work.
The feet are shod with mounts formed by double C-scrolls centered by pierced flame work, backed by large cabochons framed with additional C-scrolls and leaves. Each commode is veneered on the front with a shaped panel of bloodwood whose grain is arranged horizontally. From the left extends a large shattered oak tree in kingwood. At the sides, the shaped panels of bloodwood are set with twining stems set with flowers and leaves in end cut kingwood. The remaining areas of the commodes are veneered with amaranth.
The carcass of each commode is stamped “B.V.R.B.” on the top of each front leg (fig. 7-3).
The commodes are stamped “B.V.R.B.,” indicating that they were made by Bernard II van Risenburgh.1 Due to similarities in design and provenance, it is possible that the commodes were part of a suite of furniture consisting of a pair of corner cupboards (fig. 7-4),2 a pair of larger commodes (fig. 7-5),3 and a single commode (fig. 7-6).4 The set was part of the collection of the Albertine line of the House of Wettin, and according to a 1798 addendum to a 1794 inventory, some elements of the group were moved from the Kurländer Palais in Dresden to the audience chamber of the Dresdner Residenzschloss.5
The Museum’s commodes and those remaining in Dresden stand alone in Van Risenburgh’s oeuvre. Pieces of similar shape and size are not found elsewhere among his works; nor is the marquetry typical of his style. As seen in the previous catalogue entries, he reemployed the same models of mounts throughout his career and had an established repertoire that makes his works readily recognizable. However, the profuse mounts on these commodes are of designs quite unlike any others used by him. Their attachment to the commodes was ill considered. The small trophies covering the corner mounts completely obscure the upper profile of the corners, while the clumsiness of the hanging mount extending below the lower edge of the top drawer is not found elsewhere on this master’s usually carefully conceived pieces.
If Van Risenburgh had been instructed, by whichever marchand-mercier he was working for at the time, to design the commodes and the corner cupboards in a more bombastic, asymmetrical style suitable for the Saxon court, it is not likely that such a change would have affected the quality of his work. If it were not for the presence of his stamp on these pieces and the commodes now in the collections of the Kunstgewerbemuseum of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, they would not be attributed to Van Risenburgh on the basis of their design and quality. However, an exception can be made for the corner cupboards, which were unfortunately destroyed in the 1945 bombing of Dresden in World War II. A photograph published in 1927 shows them to be of similar size and shape as the Museum’s lacquer mounted pair (cat. no. 4).6 The mounts on the central foot are of the same model as those found in the same area on the Museum’s corner cupboards and are the only other known examples of this mount. Elsewhere the mounts on these lost pieces were as wild and asymmetrical as those found on the rest of the set.
The commodes and the corner cupboards are reputed to have been given by the dauphin Louis (1729–1765), son of Louis XV and father of Louis XVI, to his father-in-law, Frederick Augustus II, elector of Saxony and king of Poland (1696–1763).7 The dauphin married his daughter Maria Josepha of Saxony (1731–1761) in 1747. There are, however, no documents to prove this provenance. These objects are only documented from the late eighteenth century as pieces of the suite listed in a 1798 addendum to a 1794 inventory of the Dresdner Residenzschloss.8
In 1918 the Kaiser and all the other ruling kings and princes of Germany renounced their thrones, and the Saxon properties were partially divided between the state and the Wettin family. Schloss Moritzburg remained in the possession of the Albertine line of the Wettin dynasty, whose members used it as a residence. In 1945, Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony (1896–1971) left the castle, and it became the property of the state.9 It seems that in 1925 the prince was already contemplating the sale of the commodes now at the Museum that he had been allowed to keep. On August 18, the Paris office of Duveen sent Joseph Duveen an urgent telegram in which the writer declares:
Returned [to] Paris today. [ . . . ] Nothing [of] interest [to] us [in the] King [of] Saxony[’s] collection. [ . . . ] Pair [of] commodes signed Burb too rich [and] heavy made probably for [the] German market[.] [P]rice asked [is] ten for [the] pair.10
A day later, on August 19, the correspondent in Paris writes concerning the king of Saxony’s collection:
The pair of Commodes for which they are asking £10,000. I do not care for [them] at all. They are small and over decorated. They are signed “Burb,” but the bronzes are not by Caffieri as suggested.11
On August 20 another letter informs Duveen:
It is a[b]solutely useless your going to Dresden. My report is quite correct and you can rely on it. The only piece which is interesting for the Firm is, as I told you in my yesterday’s letter and in my wire of the previous day, the rock crystal jug. [ . . . ] As to the two Commodes about which I wrote you in my report yesterday, the Prince can only sell one, and the price for it is £5,000. He cannot sell the other one because the state does not allow him to do so, although it is his property. Even if we could get the pair, you would not buy them. The commodes are very small and have got heavy mounts, which although of good quality, have probably been made for the German market. I am trying to obtain for you a photograph of the Commodes.12
Eight years later, a letter dated June 26, 1933, from the New York office to London reads:
I am obliged to you for your letter of the 24th June, telling me about the commodes belonging to Ball, ex the King of Saxony, but while I appreciate your writing me about them, they would not be suitable for the position in Mrs. Dillman’s house.13
And a letter dated June 24 from London to New York states:
I see by Thursday’s telegram from New York that the Commodes you have in view for Mrs. Dillman are too large, as the space is only four feet. The Commodes, belonging to Ball, coming from the King of Saxony, are about this size, if not a little smaller. We sent you the photograph to New York about two years ago. They have marqueterie by Van Risenburgh which, at the present time, is very dark but which would surely clean up lighter, and they have the finest L.XV mounts I have ever seen, quite unique in design. They are asking £10,000 for them, but I am sure today we could get them much cheaper. Perhaps, at a push, we could get them on approval, so as to avoid the Lady [Mrs. Dillman] being taken to see them by Jean Seligmann or others. At the present time, they are at Jansen’s where Ball has taken a room temporarily.14
This correspondence shows that the prince sold or consigned the commodes to the dealer Alexander Ball.15 At least eight years later it was decided that they were not suitable for Anna Thomson [Dillman] Dodge, although at some unknown later date the commodes were sent to America by Ball to the dealer and interior decorator Jansen. Here, presumably, Anna Thomson Dodge saw them and approved their purchase, mainly because they were of the right size for the breakfast room at her home, Rose Terrace, outside Detroit, in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.16
1798: possibly the collections of the House of Wettin Kurländer Palais, Dresden, Germany; in 1798, moved to the audience chamber of the Dresdner Residenzschloss, Dresden, Germany;17 ca. 1924–early 1930s: Prince Ernst Heinrich von Wettin, German, 1896–1971 (Schloss Moritzburg, Porzellanquartier in the apartments of Frederick Augustus II, near Dresden, Germany), sold to Alexander Ball, early 1930s;18 early 1930s–1934: Alexander Ball, German (Paris, France), sold to Anna Thomson Dodge, 1934;19 1934–70: Anna Thomson Dodge, American, born Scotland, 1871–1970 (Rose Terrace, Breakfast Room, Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan), upon her death, held in trust by the estate, 1970;20 1970–71: Estate of Anna Thomson Dodge, American, born Scotland, 1871–1970 [sold, The Highly Important Collection of French Furniture and Works of Art, Christie’s, London, June 24, 1971, lot 102, through French and Company to the J. Paul Getty Museum].21
The J. Paul Getty Collection of French Decorative Arts, Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit), October 3, 1972–August 31, 1973 (displayed October 3–December 17, 1972).
Citation: Feulner, Adolf. Kunstgeschichte des Möbels. Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag, 1927., 324–25; Citation: Coleridge, Anthony. “Works of Art with a Royal Provenance from the Collection of the Late Mrs. Anna Thomson Dodge of Detroit.” The Connoisseur 177, no. 711 (May 1971): 34–36., 36, ill.; Christie’s London, Anna Thomson Dodge sale, June 24, 1971, 83–84, lot 102, ill. (.1 only); Citation: Wilson, Gillian. “The J. Paul Getty Museum: 6ème partie: Les meubles baroques.” Connaissance des Arts 279 (May 1975): 107–13., 113, ill.; Citation: Stürmer, Michael. Handwerk und höfische Kultur: Europäische Möbelkunst im 18. Jahrhundert. Munich: Beck, 1982., 57, fig. 13; Citation: Kjellberg, Pierre. Le mobilier français du XVIIIe siècle: Dictionnaire des ébénistes et des menuisiers. Paris: Éditions de l’Amateur, 1989., 139; Citation: Pradère, Alexandre. French Furniture Makers: The Art of the Ébéniste from Louis XIV to the Revolution. Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1989., 189, fig. 175; Citation: Gruber, Alain, ed. L’art décoratif en Europe. Vol. 2, Classique et baroque. Paris: Citadelles & Mazenod, 1992., vol. 2, 388, ill.; Citation: Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993., 27, no. 28; Citation: Ramond, Pierre. Masterpieces of Marquetry. Vol. 2, From the Régence to the Present Day. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2000. Originally published as Chefs-d’oeuvre des marqueteurs. Vol. 2, De la Régence à nos jours. Dourdan: Éditions H. Vial, 1996., 128–29, ill.; Citation: Wilson, Gillian, and Catherine Hess. Summary Catalogue of European Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum. Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2001., 15, no. 28.
The two commodes are constructed nearly identically. In each commode, the massive legs, or posts, each made of one piece of wood, are tapered and run from the top to the bottom of the case. A bipartite frame-and-panel construction forms the case back (fig. 7-7), the back legs acting as the vertical framing stiles and the horizontal rails attached with unpegged mortise-and-tenon joints. The tenons of the horizontal rails are barefaced, that is, the front (interior) surface is not shouldered and is flush with the surface of the rail. The top is made in a bipartite frame-and-panel construction with a trapezoidal shape (fig. 7-8). The ends of the four rails are dovetailed into the legs, each with a single, open-faced dovetail, except for the rear rail, which has paired dovetails. The dovetail joints between the front rail and the legs are unusual; the top inner edges of the legs are notched, so the edges of the front rail (behind the dovetail pin) can rest on them (fig. 7-9). This serves as an additional lateral stabilization for the rails and is an improvement over the simpler arrangement seen on the commodes in cat. nos. 5 and 6.
The case bottom and the dustboard between the drawers are made in bipartite frame-and-panel construction, similar to the top (fig. 7-10). The dustboard is framed with rails on all sides. The case bottom, however, has no rear rails of its own, utilizing instead the lower rail of the case back as its rear member. Thus, the panels of the case bottom are, along their rear edges, housed in grooves cut into the lower rail of the case back. The side rails of the case bottom and dustboard are connected to the rear and front posts with sliding half-dovetails (fig. 7-11). The front rail of the case bottom is also joined with sliding half-dovetails to the front posts; these appear to have been cut through the entire thickness of the posts, allowing the rail to be pushed in from the front. A number of short blocks of oak have been glued to the bottom front edge of the rail and carved to form the apron contour.
The front rail of the dustboard is dovetailed to the front posts in the same manner as for the case bottom; however, the dovetail housings at the level of the dustboard are not cut through the whole depth of the posts, so the rail must have been slid into place from the back (interior). The rear rail of the dustboard is attached to the back posts with sliding half-dovetails that do not extend through the full thickness of the posts, and therefore the rails must have been inserted from the front (interior). The rear rail is supported at its center by an oak peg that passes through the medial stile of the case back into the rear edge of the rail.
The medial rail of the case bottom is attached to the lower rail of the case back with a wedged, through-mortise-and-tenon joint, with a single wedge placed at one side of the tenon. The drawer runners and guides are glued on top of the panels of the dustboard and the case bottom to compensate for the trapezoidal shape of the frame and to build the rectangular support, necessary for the drawers. The drawer guides for the lower drawer (which prevent side to side movement of the drawer) are attached directly to the lower rail of the case back with through-tenons. The case sides, made of three to four butt-joined, horizontally oriented boards each, are attached to the posts with tongue-and-groove joints.
The details of the construction make clear the order of assembly of the cases. For each, the maker must first have attached the bottom and middle front rails to the front leg posts and the case back assembly to the back leg posts. Next the medial rails and panels of the case bottom and drawer divider were assembled between the front and rear sections. The corresponding side rails were then slid into their half-dovetail mortises in the legs from the outside. Only after these rails were in position could the side panels be slid into place between the front and rear legs; the sides must have been inserted from the bottom, as the grooves into the leg posts do not extend to the top of the posts. The case top was the last section to be assembled. All of the rails and panels were fitted together and dropped into the dovetail mortises in the tops of the four posts. In order to accomplish this, the inside front corners of the rear posts had to be notched, allowing the corners of the panels to drop cleanly into position. The notches were filled, after assembly was complete, with small blocks of oak, still visible on the tops of the legs (fig. 7-12).
The drawers are mainly made of European walnut; only the curved fronts are made of oak. At the back, the drawers are assembled with widely spaced through-dovetails, and at the front, half-blind dovetails. Whereas a pin is conventionally placed at the top and bottom of a dovetail joint, in this case, on both ends, a tail is the final element (figs. 7-13, 7-14). The variable sizes and shapes of the dovetails and their irregular arrangement seem to be in keeping with other Van Risenburgh drawer joints (see cat. nos. 6, 8, 10). Each of the drawer sides and backs is made of a single board with the top edges rounded. The fronts are complex laminates of oak, subdivided into three or five sections in the length. Some of the single sections are themselves made up of two pieces of wood, stacked vertically and butt joined to each other. The drawer bottoms are housed in grooves in all four sides, fixed with additional walnut strips glued to the bottom edges of the sides. The bottom boards, with the grain oriented from side to side, are plain and not beveled. On the bottom edge of the lower drawer fronts, semicircular blocks of oak form pendants. The applied aprons of the cases are cut away to house the pendants when the drawers are closed (fig. 7-15).
The variegated walnut of the drawers appears to retain large sections of sapwood, some with exposed insect channels, which is unusual. Many surfaces still show the marks of a toothing plane; the distances between the teeth are very small (0.4–0.8 mm), similar to the marks on the rest of the commode. During a previous restoration the insides of the drawers were treated with a pigmented glaze, apparently meant to darken the sapwood and harmonize the well-preserved interior surfaces with the aged character of the commodes.
The exteriors of the commodes are veneered with an amaranth ground, bloodwood fields, and kingwood-inlaid decoration. Based on visible tool marks in some corners, it is likely that the amaranth was first glued to the surface and then cut to shape with a knife. The bloodwood fields were then inserted in several pieces, before the kingwood decoration was inlaid (fig. 7-16). Tool marks suggest that the kingwood decoration was cut to shape with a fretsaw and then inlaid with a shoulder knife. Even though the design on the commodes is similar, there are differences in the pattern, which reveal that the kingwood design was not stack cut, but cut piece by piece. The legs and areas beneath the mounts are veneered in amaranth.
X-radiographs of the sides and the drawer fronts show the marks of a toothing plane on the wooden substrate below the veneer. The marks, similar to those on the drawers, cover the whole surfaces, irrespective of the changes in veneers and design. In addition to the toothing plane marks, X-rays of the central fields on the sides show that there is a lattice pattern of rough, irregular scoring scratched into the secondary wood. This pattern of scratches, probably made to provide a better joint between the marquetry and the secondary wood, appears only in the radiographs of the sides, suggesting that the sides may have been reveneered during a previous restoration to repair splits in the panels.
It is very likely that the commodes were restored in the 1930s, either before they were sold to Mrs. Anna Thomson Dodge or after they became part of her collection. One other restoration took place in late 1972 and early 1973 at Thorpe Bros., New York, but there are no descriptive documents regarding this treatment. It is quite possible that at this time the cracks in the sides of the carcass, which are still visible in the auction catalogue photographs of 1971, were filled and in-painted. The appearance of the veneers in areas covered by mounts is no less faded than in uncovered areas, leading to the conclusion that the entire surface was scraped or sanded during a relatively recent restoration. The finish appears very glossy and new; it likely dates to the Thorpe Bros. restoration.
The gilt bronze mounts are attached to the carcass with modern brass screws. The elaborateness in chasing of the mounts differs; some have a more precise and finer chasing than others. Careful examination of the reverse sides reveals that one group of mounts served as the models from which the others were cast. In general, for each pattern of mount, one example can be found with file marks or other individual characteristics, which appear cast into the other examples. In most instances, the model, or “original” mount, is measurably larger than the aftercasts and is less detailed in its chasing (see fig. 7-17). This suggests that the models were finished castings before they were replicated and that the aftercasts were chased separately after fabrication. The four framing mounts on the sides of the commodes are each soldered together from four separate elements, yielding sixteen individual elements in total. Of these sixteen, four (one of each type) are clearly the “originals”; however, these four are randomly distributed within the four larger frames. In an attempt to determine whether this mixed use of models and aftercasts is original or the result of later restoration, twelve mounts were removed and twenty different spots were analyzed by X-ray fluorescence spectrometry (XRF) to determine alloy compositions. In all cases the alloys are typical of eighteenth-century Parisian brass castings. Only three mounts show a high zinc concentration, between 25 and 28%, which is atypical for mounts made in this period, but other detectable components are present in a typical amount. This result suggests that the mounts are from the period of manufacture and that the use of aftercasts is an original characteristic of the commodes.
The drawer locks, which appear to be original, are produced in the same way as the locks of the Van Risenburgh bureau plat (cat. no. 10). They are warded locks of brass and steel with double bolts, half-covered and fixed to the drawers with round-headed iron screws. The mechanism is made of iron; only the backplate is made of brass. The alloy of the brass backplate is typical of eighteenth-century production. The two commodes have different keys; it is not readily evident if one of the keys is original.
The J. Paul Getty Museum bought the commodes with other marble tops, which were, however, not original. Too large for the commodes (101.4 and 101.7 cm wide and 56.0 cm deep), with many repairs and showing different profiles, the two previous tops were made of different types of stone. The campan grand mélange marble tops are replacements dating to the 1990s. This stone is composed of a red limestone matrix, with lenticular nodules of gray-green marl (calcareous clay) and cream-pink regions separated occasionally by dark green veins of chlorite. These regions are cross-cut by white veins of crystalline calcite. Unlike regular campan marble, there are fewer fossils of nautiloids visible, possibly due to relatively intense metamorphic processes of heat and pressure. The two tabletops were cut from a single piece of marble, and the upper surfaces are book matched.
- and R.S.
For more information on Bernard II van Risenburgh, see primarily Citation: Pradère, Alexandre. French Furniture Makers: The Art of the Ébéniste from Louis XIV to the Revolution. Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1989., 183–99; Citation: Baroli, Jean-Pierre. “Le mystérieux B.V.R.B. enfin identifié.” Connaissance des Arts 61 (March 1957): 56–63., 56–63. See also Daniel Alcouffe, in Citation: Louis XV, un moment de perfection de l’art français. Exh. cat. Paris: Imprimerie Nationale, 1974., 323–24. ↩︎
Citation: Feulner, Adolf. Kunstgeschichte des Möbels. Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag, 1927., 325, fig. 277. Destroyed during World War II. ↩︎
Citation: Haase, Gisela, Igor A. Jenzen, and Rainer Richter. Kunstgewerbemuseum Dresden in Schloss Pillnitz: Meisterwerke des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts. Dresden: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 1996., 72–73, no. 40, illus. (of inv. no. 37418 only). In the collection of the Kunstgewerbemuseum of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, inv. nos. 39198 and 37418 (89 x 145 x 56 cm). ↩︎
Citation: Feulner, Adolf. Kunstgeschichte des Möbels. Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag, 1927., 327, fig. 278. In the collection of the Kunstgewerbemuseum of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, inv. no. 3738 (90 x 142 x 65 cm). Citation: Haase-Messner, Gisela, and Günter Reinheckel. Kunsthandwerk des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts: Schloss Pillnitz, Wasser- und Bergpalais, Museum für Kunsthandwerk Dresden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden. Dresden: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 1973., 13, no. A1. ↩︎
A pair of corner cupboards, a pair of commodes larger than the Museum’s, one commode, and two candelabras, but not the Museum’s pair of commodes, are listed in a 1798 addendum to a 1794 inventory of the Dresdner Residenzschloss: Staatsarchiv OHMA Lit. R Kap. XVI Nr. 10, Vol. I S. 312. Correspondence with Gisela Haase, curator at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, February 1, 1977, in the files of the Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department, J. Paul Getty Museum. Haase later published this archive citation in Citation: Haase, Gisela. Dresdner Möbel des 18. Jahrhunderts: Barock, Rokoko, Zopfstil. Rosenheim: Rosenheimer Verlagshaus, 1983., 363 n. 108. Correspondence with Christiane Ernek-van der Goes, curator at the Kunstgewerbemuseum of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, November 27, 2017, states the archive citation for this inventory as Sächsisches Hauptstaatsarchiv Dresden, 10010 Hausmarschallamt, Akte 198, Inventar Residenzschloss Dresden, erstellt 1794 mit Nachträge aus späteren Jahren, fols. 311v and 312v. ↩︎
Citation: Feulner, Adolf. Kunstgeschichte des Möbels. Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag, 1927., 325, fig. 277. ↩︎
The first documentation of this hypothesis was during the sale of the commodes from Alexander Ball to Anna Thomson Dodge in 1934; see correspondence between F. E. Upton and L. Alavoine and Co., April 24, 1934, in the files of the Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department, J. Paul Getty Museum. This possible provenance was then published in the catalogue for the auction of Anna Thomson Dodge’s estate: Christie’s, The Highly Important Collection of French Furniture and Works of Art, June 24, 1971 (London: Christie’s, 1971), lot 102. In 1996 Haase states that it was the marriage of Maria Josepha and the dauphin Louis that began the popularity of French furniture in Dresden but does not present the possibility that Louis gifted the suite to Frederick August II (Citation: Haase, Gisela, Igor A. Jenzen, and Rainer Richter. Kunstgewerbemuseum Dresden in Schloss Pillnitz: Meisterwerke des 18. und 19. Jahrhunderts. Dresden: Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, 1996.). ↩︎
Prince Ernst Heinrich of Saxony was the third son of the last king of Saxony, Frederick Augustus III, who had abdicated in 1918 and died in 1932. The prince was the direct descendant of Frederick Augustus II, Elector of Saxony. ↩︎
Files Regarding Works of Art: King of Saxony Collection, ca. 1922–27. Duveen Brothers Records, 1876–1981 (bulk 1909–64). Getty Research Institute, 960015, box 287, folder 20, August 18, 1925. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/960015b287f020. ↩︎
Files Regarding Works of Art: King of Saxony Collection, ca. 1922–27. Duveen Brothers Records, 1876–1981 (bulk 1909–64). Getty Research Institute, 960015, box 287, folder 20, August 19, 1925. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/960015b287f020. ↩︎
Files Regarding Works of Art: King of Saxony Collection, ca. 1922–27. Duveen Brothers Records, 1876–1981 (bulk 1909–64). Getty Research Institute, 960015, box 287, folder 20, August 20, 1925. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/960015b287f020. ↩︎
Collectors’ Files: Dillman, Mrs. (Dodge), 1, ca. 192533. Duveen Brothers Records, 18761981 (bulk 190964). Getty Research Institute, 960015, box 442, folder 5, June 26, 1933. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/960015b442f005. Anna Thomson was formerly married to Horace Dodge and inherited his vast fortune when he died. After she divorced her second husband, the actor Hugh Dillman, in 1947, she decided to be called Anna Thomson Dodge. ↩︎
Collectors’ Files: Dillman, Mrs. (Dodge), 1, ca. 192533. Duveen Brothers Records, 18761981 (bulk 190964). Getty Research Institute, 960015, box 442, folder 5, June 26, 1933. http://hdl.handle.net/10020/960015b442f005. ↩︎
Alexander Ball was a Berlin dealer. The family immigrated to the United States before World War II. Known as A&R Ball, they had premises at 30 W. 54th St. in New York. I am grateful to Gerald Stiebel for this information. ↩︎
Shown in a photograph of the pair of commodes in the breakfast room, courtesy of Grosse Pointe Historical Society. The Breakfast Room at Rose Terrace II, ca. 1971. ↩︎
Correspondence with Gisela Haase, curator at the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, January 5, 1977, in the files of the Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department. ↩︎
Correspondence between Alex Ball and Henry Hawley, curator of decorative arts at the Cleveland Museum of Art, January 2, 1971, in the files of the Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department, J. Paul Getty Museum. ↩︎
Collectors’ files: Dillman, Mrs. (Dodge), 1, ca. 1925–33, Duveen Bros. Records, Getty Research Institute, 960015, box 442, folder 5; correspondence between L. Alavoine and Co. and Mr. F. E. Upton, April 24, 1934, in the files of the Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department, J. Paul Getty Museum. ↩︎
French and Company invoice, June 28, 1971, in the files of the Sculpture and Decorative Arts Department, J. Paul Getty Museum. ↩︎
- Baroli 1957
- Baroli, Jean-Pierre. “Le mystérieux B.V.R.B. enfin identifié.” Connaissance des Arts 61 (March 1957): 56–63.
- Bremer-David et al. 1993
- Bremer-David, Charissa, et al. Decorative Arts: An Illustrated Summary Catalogue of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum. Malibu, CA: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1993.
- Coleridge 1971
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