Offered by Galerie Pellat de Villedon
Furniture, works of art and paintings
Commode, Chinese lacquer, chased and gilded bronze, top of Aleppo breccia marble, stamped C. WOLFF and JME, Christophe Wolff (1720-1795) received master in 1755, around 1755-1760.
Size (H x W x D) : 88 x 121 x 69 cm.
Restoration and resumption of the varnish, marble added.
This chest of drawers presents a usual shape for Wolff in the middle of the 18th century with its curved case with two drawers without crossbar, resting on cambered legs, and covered with European varnish in the Chinese style highlighted by a beautiful ornamentation of gilt bronze.
In order to highlight the lacquer from the Far East, the cabinetmaker treats it with respect and completes it with a frame of plain black Martin varnish. He drew golden contours around the panels plated on the furniture, did not put too many bronzes on the face so as not to cover the main subjects of the varnish, and left a lot of black varnish on the most fragile parts of the furniture, to protect the decorated parts by sparing them the edges of the case.
In order to replace certain bronzes, the decoration contoured with gold evokes falls and baguettes of gilded bronze.
Christophe Wolff, originally from Germany, passed his master's degree in 1755 after working as a simple worker and then as a free craftsman. He worked for about twenty years in the rue de Charenton and transferred his workshop to the rue Neuve-Saint-Denis where he lived until the Revolution. Without particular originality, his production was abundant and his work of very good quality. His furniture, mostly in the Louis XV or Transitional style, was decorated with the most refined marquetry, with musical attributes, large flowers and branches, landscapes or Chinese scenes. His talents were also recognized for the execution of furniture "à mécanique" which are part of his very good works. He sometimes used, for the ornamentation of his furniture in the Louis XV style, European varnishes in the taste of the Far East or lacquers from the ends of the earth as is the case here.
Lacquers from China and Japan:
After importing chests, cabinets and screens from Asia to sell them as they were, merchant-merchants had the idea of dismembering them and cutting them up by taking their lacquer panels to decorate Western furniture. The merchant was responsible for delivering the material to the cabinetmaker whose role was to place it on the frame of the furniture as an ornament.
The cabinetmaker would cut the lacquer panels in half in thickness (the panels were very often double-sided) and then, with a plane, he would refine them, in order to be able to place them on the frame of the piece of furniture like a traditional marquetry. The lacquer panels were most often maintained with the help of gilded bronzes, often very worked. The parts of the furniture not decorated with lacquer were painted with a varnish (Martin varnish), to highlight or to harmonize the external fields with the central panel in oriental lacquer, which gave the illusion of a furniture entirely in lacquer.
This technique was also used by cabinetmakers as a substitution process, to imitate real lacquer when they could not use original lacquer, because these lacquers -especially those coming from Japan- were very rare and therefore expensive, and therefore reserved for the most talented cabinetmakers of their generation, such as B.V.R.B, Martin Carlin, Jean Desforges or Adam Weisweiler.
10 000 €