Rare Louis XIV period chest of drawers with three rows of drawers in Alpine wood veneer decorated with geometric reserves and rich ornamentation of chased and gilded bronze.
Grenoble work of the Louis XIV period (circa 1710 - 1715) by Thomas Hache.
This chest of drawers by Thomas Hache is characterized by a decoration based on a symmetrically ordered juxtaposition of geometric figures in cleverly measured contrasts. It is entirely veneered with local wood, according to a habit dear to the Hache family, with the top, front and sides covered with maple and ash burls on a background of olive wood, divided into reserves hemmed with bands and contours delimited by blackened wood fillets, themselves flanked by thin fillets of light wood.
One can only marvel at the size of the veneers and the beauty of the burls, a guarantee of the high quality that characterizes the achievements of the Hache family over three generations in Grenoble and that their followers will not be able to achieve.
It represents the archetype of Thomas Hache's first productions and, as Pierre Rouge notes, strictly speaking of the Louis XIV period. The author of the Génie des Hache gives a precise chronology, between 1710 and 1715, when Hache began to buy from marble makers in the Dauphiné, and the model evolved - for less than a decade - by simply adding a crosspiece under the top, which allowed the chest of drawers to be offered to customers in two versions: with inlaid top or with marble.
The chest of drawers we present is a model with a wooden top opening to three drawers on three rows, the front slightly curved "in D", the front uprights curved in a soft and ample continuity of the front curve and punctuated by feet curved in contours of the hooves, the back uprights with projections ending in splayed feet, the top following perfectly the contours of the chest.
Seven types of wood were used in its manufacture, two of which are solid: fir and walnut for the frame (exclusively for the drawer fronts; the drawers of this type of chest of drawers covered with native wood are made of walnut, which is a particularity of Hache and allows it to be distinguished from other Grenoble productions). Six woods are used in the veneer: olive wood, sawn on the bias for the backs, which are edged with a walnut or almond fillet, burr maple for most of the reserves, burr ash for the borders, blackened hornbeam for the fillets, and holly for their contours.
Indeed, the Hache fillets always have their contours thus underlined. They have another feature that allows us to establish an attribution and to reject a good number of chests of drawers in follower veneer that sometimes make an illusion, and even more so when false stamps are brought back to them: these fillets are never cut at the crossings but uninterrupted in their convolutions.
For the tray the decorative composition is organized around a large rhombus in maple burr with a border in ash burr inscribed in an important reserve with convex lobes in olive wood in butterfly wings, itself bordered with ash burr, the whole framed by four oblong cartridges and four three-lobed cartridges "in heart" at the spandrels, the whole still underlined by a border then the moulding in beak of corbelled made of a thick veneer of olive wood sawn of slant (thickness of 2 lines, that is to say approximately 7mm, of the solid mass) and stuck to the angle of the frame. Each of the geometrical figures is hemmed with a wide black tinted hornbeam fillet, itself framed by two thin holly fillets.
A careful observation allows us to notice that this triple net becomes quadruple by the addition of a tobacco colored net on the inside (probably walnut for the top and almond for the front) placed on absolutely all the borders of the reserves that are not veneered with burls (these are each of the olive reserves but also the two small horizontal rectangles on top of the sides).
The facade is punctuated by an alternating set of poly-lobed cartouche reserves, similarly in light maple burl, contrasting with the reddish-brown olive tree in ash burl frames hemmed with a quarter-round olive tree.
The sides are adorned with a large diamond border reminiscent of the top, but this time inscribed in a vertical rectangle surmounted by the traditional small horizontal rectangle (and still hemmed with fillets on three sides only).
The uprights are decorated with a tripartite composition of reserves in maple burl on a background of olive tree.
As on most of these models of chests of drawers with large bronze shoes (wider than the uprights), the foot is added to the base of the upright (and joined by two trunnions) and cut to the contours of the bronze, while at the back, and on the same height, is glued a plate allowing the profiling of an atypical flared foot (but responding well to the canons of neoclassicism / Thus much later Adam Weisweiler will be accustomed to a pedestal foot reminiscent of this way).
The piece of furniture is adorned with a very rich bronze ornamentation composed of six drop handles "with marine monsters", three lock entrances featuring the same fantastic animals flanked by putti (its three iron locks always present with a key of the same metal operating the three) and finally two clogs "with chubby masks".
We will see by observing the few known reference chests of drawers that these clogs are of a classic Hache model (a model that differs from most Parisian models found on chests of drawers of the same period by the addition of a lanceolate drop between the volutes), while the handles are more unusual. However, we know on the one hand Thomas Hache's predisposition to vary his trimmings, which are elements that allow him to differentiate each of his chests of drawers (here, in addition to their magnificence, their reduced size offers the advantage of respecting the layout of the reserves), and on the other hand we have seen the same bronzes "with marine monsters" on a Louis XIV commode by François Lieutaud (we had already noted the similarity between the bronzes of Thomas Hache and those of this great Parisian cabinetmaker and foundryman and mentioned the latter as the main supplier of bronze trimmings for Hache).
We will find in the book Le génie des HACHE three commodes echoing ours, these are successively the models of plates 86 and 98, and another commode reproduced in Le Fonvieille. We will add to this documentation a chest of drawers sold at Hôtel Drouot in November 2000, noting that we have not seen a (real) chest of drawers of this model at public auction since then (except for one, however, but with Italian marquetry and without its original top, sold in Lyon in 2021).
45 000 €
2 700 €