Corner Cabinet

A work made of oak, mahogany, marble, and gilt-bronze mounts.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of oak, mahogany, marble, and gilt-bronze mounts.

Date:

c. 1785

Artist:

Jean Henri Riesener
French, born Germany, 1734–1806
Paris

About this artwork

This corner was one of four made for the dining room of Marie Antoinette’s private retreat, which was built within the Petit Trianon complex on the grounds of Versailles. The retreat, a cluster of picturesque buildings including a mill, dairy and working farm, was known as Le Hameau, or The Hamlet. The marks painted and impressed on top of the cabinet, underneath the marble slab, indicate that it was made for the French queen.

In keeping with the back-to-nature movement in vogue during the 1780s, Marie Antoinette commissioned this village, whose deliberately distressed buildings with quaint thatched roofs belied the luxurious furnishings often contained within. This retreat into a make-believe world of simple pleasures gave the queen the opportunity to escape from the rigid protocol of French court life with her closest friends.

The corner cabinet, with its imported mahogany veneers, marble top, and jewel-like gilt-bronze mounts, was designed by Jean-Henri Riesener (1734–1806), the most important cabinetmaker working in Paris at the time. Like many others in his field, Riesener was of German origin. He specialized in sophisticated marquetry and an interpretation of the fashionable Neoclassical style that had become increasingly delicate by the time this cupboard was made. The horizontal gilt-bronze border of semi-recumbent infants and leafy garlands below the marble top are especially finely cast.

On View

European Decorative Art, Gallery 233

Artist

Jean Henri Riesener (Cabinetmaker)

Title

Corner Cabinet

Origin

France

Date

1780–1790

Medium

Oak, mahogany, marble, and gilt-bronze mounts

Dimensions

94.3 × 81.3 × 55.9 cm (37 1/8 × 32 1/4 × 22 in.)

Credit Line

Mrs. James Ward Thorne Fund

Reference Number

1945.185

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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