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Work Salon (day bed, pair of bergères, pair of fauteuils, pair of chairs, stool)

Department of Decorative Arts: 19th century

Salon de Madame Récamier : guéridon, chaise longue, paire de bergères, paire de fauteuils, paire de chaises, tabouret

© 1995 RMN / Daniel Arnaudet

Decorative Arts
19th century

Author(s):
Barbier Muriel

This set of chairs comes from the rooms occupied by Juliette Récamier (1777-1849) at the Abbaye-au-Bois, rue de Sèvres, in Paris. It was most likely created originally for one of Madame Récamier's salons in the Hôtel Récamier, rue du Mont-Blanc, whose neighborhood of Paris had become fashionable in the early 19th century. Probably the work of Jacob Frères, these seats are representative of the style of furniture produced in those years.

Seats in the manner of the antique

This salon set is composed of a day bed, two bergères, two fauteuils, two chairs and a stool. The day bed, shaped like those of Antiquity, is supported by patinated legs imitating the look of bronze. The front legs are baluster-shaped and the back legs in the Etruscan style. There is a back on each end with scrolling frames terminating in lion snouts of patinated wood, an ornament also reminiscent of antique furniture. In her portrait by Jacques-Louis David (Painting Department, Musée du Louvre), Juliette Récamier poses on a very similar day bed, which the painter might likely have ordered specifically from Jacob to furnish his studio. The other chairs stand on the same types of legs, baluster-shaped at the front, and Etruscan at the back. The lion snouts are also repeated on the chairs. The arm supports of the bergères and of the fauteuils are shaped like winged sphynges standing on their hind legs, a motif often used by Jacob Frères. As for the X-shaped stool with its legs ending in lion paws, it evokes the seats found in Ancient Rome.

Varying effects with materials

in 1791, the Le Chapelier law abolished the guild system, allowing cabinetmakers and woodcarvers to work indifferently with solid woods and veneering woods. Thus in the early 19th century cabinetmaking techniques began to be applied to a type of furniture produced until then exclusively by woodcarvers. Such is the case with this set, which is veneered with lemon wood and amaranth. On the seat rails and the seat posts, the lemon wood veneering is outlined with amaranth fillets. The illustrations that have come down to us show that these seats were upholstered with blue cassimere. The furniture's strict sober style was therefore enlivened with vivid polychromy.

A set better known for its later history

If we can only suppose that this furniture comes originally from the Hôtel Récamier, we are on the other hand certain that it followed Madame Récamier, after the death of her husband, the banker Jacques-Rose Récamier, to the Abbaye-au-Bois, rue de Sèvres, in Paris. Indeed, in 1826, François-Louis Dejuinne painted a watercolor representing Madame Récamier's bedroom there, in which part of the seats appear. In 1848, the painter Auguste-Gabriel Toudouze immortalized this time the aspect of Madame Récamier's salon, which was furnished with another part of the set. Along with the furnishings of Madame Récamier's bedroom - also in the Louvre - this salon provides a good example of the elegance of furniture produced in the early 19th century.

Bibliography

Nouvelles acquisitions du département des Objets d'art (1990-1994), Paris, RMN, 1995, pp. 223-226.

Technical description

  • JACOB Frères

    Salon de Madame Récamier : guéridon, chaise longue, paire de bergères, paire de fauteuils, paire de chaises, tabouret

    Vers 1798

    Paris

  • Placage de citronnier et d'amarante

    H. : 0,74 m. ; D. : 0,75 m.

  • Don de M. et Mme Victor Pastor, 1993

    OA 11383, OA 11384, OA 11385, OA 11386, OA 11387, OA 11388, OA 11389, OA 11390, OA 11391

  • Decorative Arts

    Richelieu wing
    1st floor
    Jacob Frères
    Room 68

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