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The inventive talents of David Roentgen are evident in this exceptionally refined desk. The monogram "DR" inlaid beneath the keyhole on the lower drawer indicates the cabinetmaker's satisfaction with one of his most mechanically ingenuous creations: a single key inserted at different depths unlocks the center drawer, releases the rolltop, or releases the hidden side drawers; if a button is pressed on the underside of these drawers, each swings aside to reveal three other drawers. Above the rolltop, the rectangular structure consists of a single wide drawer. The artist's creativity is evident in the chinoiserie marquetry scenes, created by using minute pieces of naturally colored exotic woods that have a painterly effect.
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This desk is featured in the exhibition Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens (on view October 30, 2012–January 27, 2013).
David Roentgen: Long-Case Clock
The Roentgens' Berlin Secretary Cabinet
(00:02:20) 11562 views
Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Demonstration
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Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Animation
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Dwarf (one of three)
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 508
These two figures derive from a set of the Four Seasons originally carved in ivory by Balthasar Permoser. Carlo Ginori (1702-1757), founder of the Doccia factory, owned examples of Permoser's work.
[ Roth , 1982; sold to MMA ]
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