A perfect pair and 18th-century French craftsmanship

On 05 June 2020, by Anne Doridou-Heim

The 18th century made a triumphant return to Drouot with a beautiful suite of furnishings from major French collections, for a conclusive result flirting with €800,000.

Stamped Pierre Chevallier, Paris around 1745–1749, set of two chests of drawers in Martin varnish that can form a pair, curved on all sides, gilt chased bronze, 91 x 158 x 68 cm.
Result: €227,887

In the spotlight were these two beautiful chests of drawers brought together to form a perfect pair. Their appearance in the market sparked a fierce bidding war climaxing at €200,000. The history of Pierre Chevalier, the cabinetmaker who stamped them, is well known, but it does not provide all the answers concerning their fabrication, for he was related to the Criaerds and Saunois, two talented dynasties. In the second half of the 18th century it was not unusual for merchant cabinetmakers to affix their signatures onto each other’s furniture. It is not always easy to know who the maker actually was. However, these two chests of drawers feature more than just stylistic similarities with the famous furniture Mathieu Criaerd made for Madame de Mailly's bed-chamber at Choisy and today in the Louvre, notably in the bronze ornamentation (here gilded instead of silvered), an identical arrangement and the choice of the egret. The high-flying result was followed by the €44,311 achieved by a wide, low bergère decorated in carved and gilded wood attributed to Nicolas Quinibert Foliot (1706–1776) based on a design by Nicolas Pineau. This master joiner belonged to a dynasty that distinguished itself in the service of the Garde Meuble de la Couronne (Furniture-Maker to the King's Household).
 

Attributed to Nicolas Quinebert Foliot (1706–1776), low bergère in carved and gilded wood, legs decorated with foliage cartouches, 100 x 8
Attributed to Nicolas Quinebert Foliot (1706–1776), low bergère in carved and gilded wood, legs decorated with foliage cartouches, 100 x 82 x 66 cm, 39.3 x 32.2 x 25.9 in.
Result: €44,311f
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