Work Pair of fauteuils à la Reine
Department of Decorative Arts: 18th century: rococo
Two straight-backed chairs
© Musée du Louvre / Objets d'Art
18th century: rococo
These two fauteuils were part of a larger set of furniture including two settees, four fauteuils, and two stools, now divided between a private collection and the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles. They belonged to Pierre Crozat (1661–1740), Treasurer of France. Their original gilding and upholstery have been preserved. Emblematic of the Régence style, they demonstrate the period's taste for morocco leather.
Pierre Crozat, a wealthy collector
Pierre Crozat (1661–1740) was Treasurer of France as well as a wealthy and celebrated collector. In the early 18th century, he commissioned the architect Cartaud to build a private mansion for him on rue de Richelieu in Paris. A gallery ran through the ground floor, opening onto the garden. It was hung with red damask and decorated with pier glasses. This is where Crozat kept the pieces from his collection. Among the various paintings, marble busts, bronze groups, and marble tables, there was, in particular, a set of twelve fauteuils, two settees, two benches, and four stools covered with red morocco leather. It was in this gallery that the two fauteuils now in the Louvre were originally displayed.
The wooden frames of the fauteuils, still covered with their original gilding, are curved and fully visible. Typical of the Régence, they nevertheless present many characteristics of the Louis XIV style. The cabriole legs are no longer joined by a stretcher, yet their stocky outline still harks back to the later years of the Louis XIV period. They stand on whorl feet. The arm supports, plumb with the legs, slightly turn out at the tip. The armrests, perfectly rectilinear, have arm pads for comfort. The back maintains some of the rigidity of earlier chairs. In its upper part, however, this is relieved by an undulating movement at the top. As for the repertory of ornaments — fluting, clasps, palms and acanthus leaves — it is indicative of the growing diversity of chair decoration in the early 18th century.
The taste for Morocco leather
The fauteuils in the Louvre are still covered with their original upholstery of tawny and red morocco leather. The borders are decorated with appliqué leather patterns outlined with stitching. Morocco leather is made either of goat or sheep skin tanned with sumac or gallnut. Pierre Crozat had a definite liking for morocco and used it as well to cover the furniture of his mansion's main drawing room. He also had twelve walnut fauteuils upholstered in the same leather for his country estate in Montmorency. He was not alone in his tastes. Indeed, an inventory of the Royal Furniture Repository describes a set of chairs very similar to his.
B. G. P. Pallot, Le Mobilier du musée du Louvre, Paris, 1993, Faton, pp. 32 35.
Catalogue d'exposition Nouvelles acquisitions du département des Objets d'art 1980-1985, Paris, 1990, pp. 140-142.
Paris (c. 1710-20)
Two straight-backed chairs
H. 1.11 m; W. 0.69 m; D. 0.56 m
Gift of Comte Robert Henry de Caumont La Force, 1989 , 1989
OA 11200, OA 11201
Galerie Edmond et Lilly Safra
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