Vendredi 01 mai 2015
La Gazette internationale, Caroline Legrand
La Gazette Drouot International Number 47 May 2015
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Jean-François OEben will be calling the tune at this impressivedispersion of furniture, paintings and objets d'art:a prestigious sale staged at the Château d'Artigny in theTouraine, under the hammer of Philippe and AymericRouillac. Louis XV's cabinetmaker made a speciality ofmechanical furniture. One of the most famous examples isnone other than His Majesty's rolltop desk, now in theChâteau de Versailles. Here a table will be up for sale for thefirst time. Stamped "J.F. oeben" twice, this piece frombetween 1754 and 1757 is rather unusual in being "dualpurpose":it could be used as both a dressing table anda writing desk. The highly feminine table is embellishedwith marquetry in polychrome indigenous and exoticwood, ornamented in the centre with a basket of flowersstanding on a console with a shell, surrounded by vines,foliage and arabesques. When a secret lever is pressed, thedesk reveals a decoration of gold lacquer on a black background.One final, significant detail: the bronze cornerdecorations feature rare rams' heads from the same modelas those created for Christian IV, Duc de Deux-Ponts, or hisbrother the Crown Prince, close friends of La Pompadour.Riesener, a worthy successor to oeben, is also present in thecatalogue with a spotted mahogany commode expectedto make €100,000/150,000. The 17th century is well-representedas well, with a remarkable lacquer cabinet made inParis in around 1670 (see next page). An equestrian statueof the Sun King as a Roman emperor based on Etienne LeHongre's model for the Place Royale in Dijon, which hasremained in the family of Martin de Noinville, the architectof the same square, could garner €50,000/80,000, while areplica of the "sunflower" vases by Slodtz in the GrandeAllée at Versailles, designed for the Duc de Choiseul at theChâteau de Chanteloup, should fetch €30,000/50,000.This eclectic programme also contains a collection ofantiques, including a sarcophagus front "with Fates"(€50,000/80,000). Lastly, we find a collage of a bird byBraque (€50,000/80,000), and the first talking cinemadevice, a 1912 automatic chrono-megaphone, presentedin its five original Gaumont boxes, which crisscrossedMexico and Cuba at the beginning of the last century withits owner, Charles Proust ( €1/1.5 M).