Purchase, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Wrightsman Gift, 1973
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 527
These bergères were part of the same set as the two armchairs (1977.102.11, .12) and the sofa (1973.305.1) also in the collection, formerly in the possession of the Marquise de Ganay. They were made by Jean-Baptiste Demay, whose mark is stamped beneath the back rail of the seats. Master in 1784, Demay worked in Paris and was a supplier to the court and especially to the queen Marie-Antoinette.
Made around 1785, these bergères were executed in carved and gilded beechwood and are emblematic of the neoclassical style. The top rail of the back is arched in the center en anse de panier (basket handle) and carved with a floral wreath, sprays of laurel, and oak leaves. The two curving arms break forward from each end of the top rail where they are surmounted by a pinecone finial reminiscent of the famous pigna in the Belvedere Court at the Vatican palace. The acanthus scrolls, fluted half columns, guilloches and pearls which decorate the frames are frequently used during Louis XVI’s reign.
Signature: Stamped beneath back rail of seat in center: J.B.B. DEMAY