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Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot
Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot - Furniture Style Louis XIV Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot - Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot - Louis XIV Antiquités - Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot
Ref : 112401
220 000 €
Period :
17th century
Provenance :
Dimensions :
l. 47.64 inch X H. 32.09 inch X P. 26.38 inch
Furniture  - Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot 17th century - Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot Louis XIV - Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot Antiquités - Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot
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Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode attributed to Nicolas Sageot

Exceptional Boulle marquetry commode in pewter, brass, mother-of-pearl and ebony. The chest rests on four small feet and opens with three drawers. The drawers, both sides and top of the chest are richly decorated in the Bérain style. Butterflies, masks, birds, fantastical animals, flowers, fruit baskets, acanthus leaves, interlacing, clovers, jugglers, musicians and putti are depicted in relative symmetry. The chest of drawers is trimmed with gilded and chased bronzes, with sabots representing a shell, handles representing two dolphins facing each other, lock escutcheons representing the face of a bearded man with bunches of grapes, and baguettes on all the edges of the piece. The slightly projecting rear jambs feature an inlaid frieze set in a frame.
Attributed to Nicolas Sageot
Louis XIV period
H. 81.5 x W. 121 x D. 67 cm

We regularly present exceptional pieces of furniture, but this one certainly doesn't fall short of the mark. We're talking about a beauty of creativity, originality, technicality and history. Four visible sides, four equally rich decors. Let's take a closer look: so many details that together tell a story and take us on a journey. Characters, animals, shapes and vocabulary that would have appealed to high society 300 years ago.

The decor refers to the work of Jean Bérain (1637-1711). Perhaps we can imagine the marquetry compositions designed by his hand? It's rather difficult to confirm or reject this hypothesis definitively, as we don't possess all his drawings. Added to this is the great influence exerted during the reign of Louis XIV by the fashions he launched (his designs were widely distributed, and a collection of his engraved drawings was published in the year of his death). On the other hand, given the extraordinary quality of this commode, it's not impossible that we're dealing with his own designs. The musicians on the top are recurrent in his work. As historians remind us, Jean Bérain was one of the central figures in the Louis XIV style, making our commode a cutting-edge piece of furniture. In 1674, he became the king's architect, while also creating designs for the organization of festivities. In 1690, he was chosen as chief decorator of the Louvre apartments (furniture, woodwork and fireplace designs).

Although several trades were involved in these “jewels”, the cabinetmaker was the true conductor and principal designer. But who is he? In the absence of a stamp (at the time, stamping was not commonplace and not compulsory), it's time to investigate. We have to compare the marquetry (ribs, drawers, trays), the bronzes (foot shoes, key escutcheons, handles, moulding), the shape of the chest of drawers, the materials used, with other existing chests of drawers. Our research led us straight to Nicolas Sageot, a cabinetmaker in the reign of Louis XIV who produced works of the highest quality.

The Boulle marquetry used (a technique of superimposing saw-cut veneers to create several marquetries combining metals, precious woods and tortoiseshell in particular) is the most important element of the commode.
The side panels are present, with a few exceptions, on other commodes such as the one in London's Wallace Collection. Attributed to Sageot and announced around 1700, this commode is itself compared with other commodes by the master, leaving little room for doubt as to its origin (its twin was sold in Paris in 2008, and an almost identical model with its probable counterpart sold in 2012). Another commode sold at Sotheby's under lot 27 on June 23, 2021 also has identical sides, and is in red tortoiseshell, as are several commodes that have come up for sale bearing these sides. Whether this is a coincidence or a genuine fashion for musicians adorned in red, in this very small circle of Boulle marquetry commodes, this is a motif that we often find.

Rarer to find are the decorations on the drawers and top. A chest of drawers sold at Sotheby's on May 23, 2023 under lot 52 is associated with Nicolas Sageot. In red tortoiseshell and with a greater number of rows of drawers than ours, this commode has sides, side drawers and a top very similar to ours. We can see putti, fantastic animals, fruit, flowers, faces, butterflies and more. Although our commode's decoration is more complex than that of a duochrome, with a rare and delicate blend of pewter, brass, ebony and mother-of-pearl, it is interesting to observe the same marquetry.

Bronze trimmings are also very useful for studying a cabinetmaker's corpus. A chest of drawers sold by the Partridge Fine Arts gallery in London has a “D” shape (but with wide, rounded uprights) like the chest of drawers in our study, similar materials (excluding mother-of-pearl) and identical bronze feet: a shell topped by curved legs. Another commode reproduced in Pierre Ramond's book “André-Charles Boulle - ébéniste, ciseleur et marqueteur du Roy” (former Galerie Gismondi collection), page 146, is attributed to Sageot, but called “aux cinq couleurs” and has identical feet.
Finally, a second chest of drawers from the same book (again former Gismondi collection, page 151) is reproduced and is also attributed to Sageot. It is fitted with the same lock escutcheons, the same moulding as our commode and the same handles. What's even more interesting is that this commode also has the same top and sides as our commode.
Furthermore, a commode sold by the Kohn auction house under lot 13 of the June 23, 2015 sale is of a similar shape to ours, with an identical lingotière mould.

There is therefore little doubt that this commode is the work of Nicolas Sageot. We know that he was active as early as the 1690s, and is first recorded working in the Faubourg Saint Antoine in 1698. He was first established as a “ouvrier libre”, then accepted into the guild. His production focused on impressive cabinets, desks and chests of drawers. He is known to have promoted the use of Boulle marquetry and to have been a very good representative of it. We also know that he was not only a cabinetmaker, but also a dealer. He was so successful that he had to subcontract parts of his business, such as marquetry production, to the very talented marker Toussaint Devoye.

Galerie Pellat de Villedon


Commode Louis XIV