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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).
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This artwork is not on display
Signature: (under leopard in border) BEHAGLE.
possibly Prince Murat ; Private Collection, France (before 1909) ; [ Mortimer L. Schiff sale, Christie's, London , June 22–23, 1938, no. 75 ] ; John M. Schiff (before 1957–77; to MMA)
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