Buffet with a blond walnut top from the Alps, curved in the shape of a crossbow, opening with two large arched leaves and two side doors topped with drawers.
By Pierre Hache, cabinetmaker of the Duke of Orleans.
Grenoble around 1750.
Mid 18th century period.
Pierre Hache (Grenoble 1705 - 1776) is the son of Thomas, with whom he apprenticed and worked for years, and the father of Jean-François. He is probably the least known of the three Haches, which is perfectly unjustified: is he not the inventor of the key assembly and the pastille foot, and did he not make some of the most beautiful pieces of furniture of this dynasty of cabinetmakers, during the period from 1730 to 1760, and does one of his creations not hold the record for the highest price realized by a Grenoble chest of drawers... No doubt he was too long (and by contract) under the tutelage of his father, however he will obtain in 1757, just like his father before him and his son thereafter, the patent of cabinetmaker of the Duke of Orleans. His production is essentially marked by works in the Regency style with pure lines and the beginning of the Louis XV period.
We had never been able to acquire a Hache sideboard in our career before this one, and it must be said that very few were seen on the market during his last forty years (two or three perhaps?), and less than a dozen in total are known to us. Let's add that, as a general rule, if cabinets with side doors are rare, the sideboards that have them are even rarer. Moreover, this sideboard, which is part of a rare set of furniture made by Pierre Hache individually, has a particularity, it is the only known sideboard with side drawers in addition to doors. This specificity and its thick marble make it a real hunting buffet. This piece of furniture is of great interest, and this in more than one way, it is one of those, among all the production of the Hache, which perfectly materializes these words of Louis Faton: "The work of the Hache is unique. Nowhere else in cabinet making is there such a striking creative originality born of craftsmanship". For indeed and first of all, let us say that it subjugates the amateurs who (mystified by its forms, its assembly, its state) do not imagine that it can have more than 250 years. Our cabinetmaker and our carpenter have opened their eyes "round", amazed by the quality of finish of the piece of furniture, mainly for the first one who immediately recognizes the work of a master of his corporation, and for the second one mainly admiring the inventive and modernist simplicity of its assembly.
There is one truth that is often emphasized about the Hache, and that is their attachment to the principle of profitability, and we do not exclude that some of their inventions, including some of the most decorative ones (such as the pastille foot for example) are correlated to this principle, quite the contrary. For example, on this piece of furniture (pictures numbered 1 to 5), we can observe the simple and avant-garde assembly of its interior partitions, the finish of the underside of the bend of its bottom rail with a chisel, the quarter-round molding and scrolls of its bottom rail added as an extra thickness by gluing, and so many other things, such as the way Pierre Hache ingeniously solved the difficulty of integrating two wide and deep drawers without giving up the elegance of the arch of the leaves (simply by gluing to the front crosspiece an interior facing which, equipped with a nailed runner, serves as a guide for the drawers). Note the finish of the walnut interior with molded and blackened edges.
We were also amazed by the quality of its conservation, as we have rarely bought an 18th century piece of furniture in such a near new condition, without the slightest old restoration and without it needing any. It is enough to look carefully at the volutes at the end of its four legs to take the measure of this miraculous conservation. Without any doubt its preservation owes much to its quality of manufacture and the perfect wood used (a heart of alpine walnut almost free of xylophagous attacks) but it is also a last parameter which enters in line of account, its conditions of conservation. Indeed we acquired this piece of furniture (as well as our previous chest of drawers by Jean-François Hache) in Grenoble following an inheritance and it could be that it never left the capital of the Dauphiné (this being guaranteed by an old label stuck to the base of the right rear post, and on which one can read, under the name of the former owner, the address of an old district of Grenoble being hardly 20 mn on foot from the Hache's workshops).
The piece of furniture is covered with a Saint-Cyr stone with multiple concretions, also in an amazing state of conservation (not the slightest chip or mark to be noticed). With a thickness of 45 mm (estimated total weight of about 150 kg) it is molded with a powerful corbel beak topped by a cavet and we see that, following a habit specific to the Hache on thick trays, its visible edge is thinned by a chamfer made under the corbin beak, and we also note that its profile does not follow exactly the lines of the leaves, providing an additional dynamic to the curve of the whole. Finally, we notice on the back its old size taken up with a hand tool.
To support such a weight, the piece of furniture not being on plinth as it is the use on the hunting sideboards, but on feet with volutes, Pierre Hache did not skimp... Let us give here some dimensions: the upper crosspiece is taken in a section of 10 cm, the lower crosspiece of 7.5 cm to which is added a fir crosspiece of 3.5 cm, that is to say 11 cm, the rear legs are taken in a section of 4 x 16 cm, and the front legs in a section of 8.5 x 16 cm. As for the quality of the assemblies, it is absolutely exceptional, which explains why the furniture has not moved.
Let's finish by pointing out some other details that this piece of furniture shares with most of Pierre Hache's referenced sideboards and that are characteristic of his work: The panels are smooth (without a shelf), the false sleeper is not placed on the left leaf as usual but on the right leaf that carries the lock. There is only one functional lock entrance in the center of the frame, so there is no dummy entrance. But the most remarkable thing about each of these sideboards is the front jambs, with a formidable section and a wide curved chamfer narrowing at the junction of the moldings to form the edge of the foot.
Grenoble - Louis XV period - mid 18th century.
11 000 €
Price : on request