Covetable 18th-Century Furniture: Bemberg Foundation Acquires B.V.R.B. Cabinet

On 09 July 2021, by Philippe Dufour

The Simeoni collection, containing museum-quality 18th-century furniture by Bernard II Van Risen Burgh (B.V.R.B.), Boulle and Pierre Roussel, received the hoped-for acclaim.

Bernard II Van Risen Burgh (after 1696-1765), folio cabinet in end-grain wood marquetry on a rosewood ground, Aleppo breccia marble top (repaired), bronze ornamentation with a crowned "C", Louis XV period, 99 x 168.5 x 48 cm (38.97 x 663.38 x 18.89 in). 
Result: €1,264,000 

As might be expected, and was certainly deserved, the top three prices for the collection assembled by René Simeoni over nearly 30 years went to a folio cabinet by BVRB, a commode by Pierre Roussel and a cabinet attributed to Charles-André Boulle. The first of these is "an icon of 18th-century furniture", to quote the expert and the auctioneer, and its result of €1,264,000 cause for rejoicing for all lovers of furniture and its creator, the great Bernard II Van Risen Burgh. This beautifully embellished cabinet once belonging to the Comte d'Arnouville (1701-1794)—a bibliophile who especially commissioned this one-off piece to hold his large folios—now joins a private French collection: a form of continuity that would surely have pleased its previous owner. Two small "à la Pompadour" writing tables in tulipwood and kingwood marquetry, also by BVRB, fetched €60,000 and €80,000.

Coromandel lacquer commode with darkened wood frames, sinuous-formed façade, and sides and two drawers, decorated with palace scenes and u

Coromandel lacquer commode with darkened wood frames, sinuous-formed façade, and sides and two drawers, decorated with palace scenes and utensils in polychrome lacquer on a black background, the top in Breccia di Aleppo marble, standing on curved uprights ending in arched feet, stamped Pierre Roussel and JME, cabinetmaker admitted as a master in 1745, Louis XV period, c.1750-1755, 86.5 x 145.5 x 66 cm/34 x 57.3 x 26 in.
Result: €410,800

The second outstanding piece was a commode with Coromandel lacquer decoration in frames with gilt bronze surrounds, stamped by Pierre Roussel. Produced around 1750-1755 at the height of the vogue for chinoiserie, this characterful piece impressed many with its colorful figures in relief standing out against the dark wood background, and duly sold for €410,800. Meanwhile, the last piece in the winning trio, a cabinet (200 x 134 x 50 cm/78.7 x 52.8 x 19.7 in) in stained wood, kingwood, barberry, padouk and bloodwood on an ebony background attributed to André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732) and dating from the grand siècle of Louis XIV (c. 1670), went for €404,800.  
Expert Pierre-François Dayot was delighted with these results. "This sale, worked like a charm thanks to the authenticity of a remarkable collection, and sent out an invaluable signal, once again proving the attractiveness of the French market and Drouot, and that an auctioneer from the provinces can easily come and sell there."

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