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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.
See Collections to learn more about this desk.
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
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Rolltop Desk by David Roentgen: Demonstration
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Brooch (Part of Parure)
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This artwork is currently on display in Gallery 556
The pale yellow-gold mount is a subtle foil for the head of medusa, whose grisly coiffure crawling with snakes is no less exquisitely configured in blond hues of the tesserated glass known as micromosaic. Luigi Podio was the chief micromosaic specialist in the Roman firm of Fortunato Pio Castellani. Matching ancient imagery with technologies also re-created from classical antiquity, Castellani served an avid international clientele.
Marking: On reverse: interlaced Cs
Two Twenty-Two Eighty-Four, Inc. (until 2006) ; [ her sale, Sotheby's, New York , December 6, 2006, lot 23; sold to Fowler ] ; Jacqueline Loewe Fowler (2006–07; to MMA)
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