The J. Paul Getty Museum

Secrétaire à abattant

Object Details

Title:

Secrétaire à abattant

Artists/Makers:

Martin Carlin (French, born Germany, about 1730 - 1785, master 1766)

Circular plaque painted by Jean-Jacques Pierre le jeune (French, about 1745 - about 1800)

Two frieze and two spandrel plaques painted by Claude Couturier (French, died 1775, active 1762 - 1775)

Central frieze plaque gilded by Etienne-Henri Le Guay (French, 1719/1720 - about 1799)

Sèvres Manufactory (French, founded 1756)

Culture:

French

Place:

Paris, France; Sèvres, France (Place Created)

Date:

about 1775

Medium:

Oak veneered with ebony, holly, stained holly, amaranth and tulipwood, incised with colored mastics, set with soft-paste porcelain plaques with bleu céleste ground color, polychrome enamel and gilding; gilt-bronze mounts; white marble top

Object Number:

65.DA.2

Dimensions:

120 × 94 × 34 cm (47 1/4 × 37 × 13 3/8 in.)

Credit Line:

Gift of J. Paul Getty

See more

See less

Object Description

Delicate desks like this model ornamented a room and provided their owners with a place to write and lock up their private letters and documents. The front of this piece opens to reveal a velvet-lined writing surface and several drawers and cubbyholes.

Creating this kind of writing desk involved many people. First, the marchand-mercier (art dealer) commissioned the furniture’s design and ordered the porcelain plaques. Craftsmen at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory created, painted and gilded these plaques. An ébéniste (furniture maker) made the wooden parts, leaving space for the plaques. A variety of craftsmen designed and made the gilt bronze decorative pieces that attach to the wood, while another specialized worker lined the drawers with silk or velvet. A locksmith had to fit doors and drawers with keyholes and locks. Finally, the ébéniste assembled the desk and returned it to the dealer to sell.

Provenance
Provenance
by 1903 - 1905

Baron Nathaniel Mayer (Puggy) von Rothschild, Austrian, 1836 - 1905, by inheritance to his nephew, Baron Alphonse Mayer von Rothschild, 1905.
Source: Inventory of Baron Nathaniel Mayer von Rothschild in the collection of the library of the Museum für angewandte Kunst in Vienna. Notizen über einige meiner Kunstgegenstände, 1903, p. 128, no. 319.

1905 - 1938

Baron Alphonse Mayer von Rothschild, Austrian, 1878 - 1942 (Theresianum Gasse 16-18, Vienna, Austria), confiscated by the Nazis, March 1938.

1938 - 1945

In the possession of the Nazis (held at Das Zentraldepot für beschlagnahmte Sammlungen, Saal 6, Neuen Berg, Vienna, Austria; sent to Kremsmünster, Austria to a holding location for artworks destined for the Führermuseum on May 28, 1941; later sent to the salt mines at Altaussee, Austria), recovered by the Allied Forces, May 1945.
Source: Kunsthistorisches Museum Zentral Depot database record of the Zentralstelle für Denkmalschutz, under number AR 542; Katalog Beschlagnahmungen, Sammlung A.R., p. 10, no. 542.

1945 - 1947

In the custody of the Allied Forces, repatriated to the Republic of Austria, October 16, 1947.
Source: USACA Monuments and Fine Arts records (NARA M1926 RG 260 Reels 1&147); USACA Reparations and Restitutions Branch records (NARA M1927 RG 260 Reels 10&13), under nos. 1220 and KKU 859.

1947

In the custody of the Austrian government, restituted to the widow of Baron Alphonse Mayer von Rothschild, Baronin Clarice von Rothschild, 1947.

1947 - 1950

Baronin Clarice von Rothschild, Austrian, 1894 - 1967 (Vienna, Austria; then sent to New York, NY shortly after 1947), sold privately to Rosenberg & Stiebel, 1950.
Source: Rosenberg & Steibel invoice dated March 16, 1950.

1950

Rosenberg & Stiebel, Inc. (New York City, New York), sold to J. Paul Getty, 1950.

1950 - 1965

J. Paul Getty, American, 1892 - 1976, donated to the J. Paul Getty Museum, 1965.

Bibliography
Bibliography

Rothschild, Nathaniel Meyer von. Notizen über einige meiner Kunstgegenstände (Vienna: n.p., 1903), p. 128, no. 319.

Feulner, Adolf. Kunstgeschichte des Möbels (Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag, 1927), p. 669.

Feulner, Adolf. Kunstgeschichte des Möbels seit dem Altertum (Berlin: Propyläen-Verlag, 1927), p. 502.

Valentiner, William R., and Paul Wescher. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1954), p. 18, no. 15.

Getty, J. Paul, and Ethel Le Vane. Collector's Choice: The Chronicle of an Artistic Odyssey through Europe (London: W. H. Allen, 1955), pp. 76-77, 81, 114-15, ill. facing p. 153.

Wescher, Paul. "French Furniture of the Eighteenth Century in the J. Paul Getty Museum." The Art Quarterly 18, no. 2 (Summer 1955), pp. 131, 134, fig. 18.

Getty, J. Paul. "Vingt Mille Lieues dans les musées." Connaissance des Arts 57 (November 1956), pp. 76-77, ill.

Packer, Charles. Paris Furniture by the Master Ébénistes (Newport, England: Ceramic Book Company, 1956), p. 59, fig. 175A.

Valentiner, William R., and Paul Wescher. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 2nd ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1956), pp. 28, 33-34, no. 15.

Getty, J. Paul. Chefs-d'oeuvre de la collection J. Paul Getty (Monaco: Jaspard, Polus & Cie, 1963), pp. 124, 126-27, ill.

Reitlinger, Gerald. The Economics of Taste. Vol. 2, The Rise and Fall of Objets d'Art Prices since 1750 (New York: Barrie and Rockliff, 1963), p. 426.

Getty, J. Paul. The Joys of Collecting (New York: Hawthorn Books, Inc., 1965), pp. 154, 156-57, ill.

Jones, Anne Marian. A Handbook of the Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1965), pp. 11, 22, no. D-49.

Watson, F. J. B. The Wrightsman Collection. Vol. 1, Furniture (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1966), p. 190, under no. 105.

Fredericksen, Burton B., ed. The J. Paul Getty Museum: Greek and Roman Antiquities, Western European Paintings, French Decorative Arts of the Eighteenth Century (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), pp. 142-43, 165, 176-77, ill.

Wilson, Gillian. "The J. Paul Getty Museum, 7ème partie: Le Mobilier Louis XVI." Connaissance des arts 280 (June 1975), pp. 96-97, ill.

Frel, Jiri, Burton B. Fredericksen, and Gillian Wilson. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 3rd ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1975), pp. 83, 86, ill.

Frel, Jiri, Burton Fredericksen, and Gillian Wilson. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. Rev. ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1976), pp. 89-90, ill.

Wilson, Gillian. Decorative Arts in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1977), pp. 76, 86, no. 100.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. Guidebook: The J. Paul Getty Museum. 4th ed. Sandra Morgan, ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1978), pp. 115-16, 119, ill.

Feulner, Adolf. Kunstgeschichte des Möbels (Frankfurt: Propyläen Verlag, 1980), p. 269.

Fredericksen, Burton B., Jiří Frel, and Gillian Wilson. The J. Paul Getty Museum Guidebook. 5th ed. (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1980), pp. 110, 113-14, ill.

Stürmer, Michael. Handwerk und höfische Kultur: Europäische Möbelkunst im 18. Jahrhundert (Munich: Beck, 1982), pp. 46-47, fig. 12.

Sassoon, Adrian. "Sèvres: Luxury for the Court." In Techniques of the World's Great Masters of Pottery and Ceramics. Hugo Morley-Fletcher, ed. (Oxford: Quarto Publishing Limited, 1984), pp. 62-63, ill.

Zick, Gisela. "Die russische Wahrsagerin, Ein Tisch für Marie Karoline von Neapel." Kunst und Antiquitäten 4-5 (1984), pp. 36-37, fig. 4.

Sassoon, Adrian, and Gillian Wilson. Decorative Arts: A Handbook of the Collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1986), p. 21, no. 46.

Baarsen, Reinier J. "Rond een Nederlandse Lodewijk XVI secretaire op Het Loo." Antiek 20, no. 7 (February 1986), pp. 384-87, 391, 394n1, figs. 2-3.

Savill, Rosalind. The Wallace Collection: Catalogue of the Sèvres Porcelain. 3 vols. (London: Trustees of the Wallace Collection, 1988), pp. 612, 613n45-46, under nos. C396-400; 877, 879, 901n45, under no. C502.

Kjellberg, Pierre. Le Mobilier français du XVIIIe siècle: Dictionnaire des ébénistes et des menuisiers (Paris: Éditions de l'Amateur, 1989), pp. 160, 162.

Pradère, Alexandre. Les ébénistes français de Louis XIV à la Révolution (Paris: Chêne, 1989), p. 356, no. 29.

Pradère, Alexandre. French Furniture Makers: The Art of the Ébéniste from Louis XIV to the Revolution (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1989), p. 356, no. 29.

Alcouffe, Daniel. Nouvelles acquisitions du département des objets d'art, 1985-1989 (Paris: Éditions de la Réunion des musées nationaux, 1990), p. 154, fig. 71b, under no. 71, entry by Daniel Alcouffe.

Sassoon, Adrian. Vincennes and Sèvres Porcelain: Catalogue of the Collections (Malibu: J. Paul Getty Museum, 1991), pp. 174-77, no. 35.

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. 39-40, no. 47.

Hughes, Peter. The Wallace Collection Catalogue of Furniture. 3 vols. (London: Trustees of the Wallace Collection, 1996), vol. 2 (1996), p. 953, under no. 193.

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. 27-28, no. 47.

Leben, Ulrich. Object Design in the Age of Enlightenment: The History of the Royal Free Drawing School in Paris (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2004), p. 100, ill.

The J. Paul Getty Museum Handbook of the Collections. 8th ed. (Los Angeles: J. Paul Getty Museum, 2015), p. 301, ill.

Albis, Antoine d', et al. "Analyse d'une Assiette Peinte par Jean-Jacques Pierre le Jeune à Sèvres en 1781." Keramik-Freunde der Schweiz 129 (April 2015), pp. 55, 57, fig. 8.