Mechanical table

Maker: Jean-François Oeben (French, born Germany, Heisenberg 1721–1763 Paris)

Maker: and Roger Vandercruse, called Lacroix (French, 1727–1799)

Date: ca. 1761–63

Culture: French

Medium: Oak veneered with mahogany, kingwood, and tulipwood, with marquetry of mahogany, rosewood, holly, and various other woods; gilt-bronze mounts; imitation Japanese lacquer; replaced silk

Dimensions: Overall: 27 1/2 × 32 1/4 × 18 3/8 in. (69.9 × 81.9 × 46.7 cm)

Classification: Woodwork-Furniture

Credit Line: The Jack and Belle Linsky Collection, 1982

Accession Number: 1982.60.61

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 539
Oeben, born in Heinsberg near Aachen, was known for his naturalistic floral marquetry and for his skills as a mécanicien which are apparent in the elaborate mechanism of this table with its sliding top. He made a number of such sophisticated tables. This particular one, with the unusual pierced openings in the curving legs, was intended for Madame de Pompadour. The main charge of her coat of arms, a tower, appears at the top of the gilt-bronze mount at each corner. The table was left unfinished at the time of Oeben's death in 1761 and completed by his brother-in-law Roger Vandercruse known as Lacroix.
Signature: Stamped under rear rail: JF OEBEN

Stamped under left rail: RVL[C] JME

Inscription: On bow of key: RUSSELL & ERWIN MFG CO. / NEW BRITAIN CONN U.S.A (manufacturer's modern bow welded to original bit)
Possibly Mme de Pompadour ; Marquis of Tullibardine ; Mrs. Mary Gavin Baillie-Hamilton ; Lady Harvey ; [ Lewis and Simmons, Paris ] ; Judge Elbert H. Gary (until 1928; sale, American Art Association, New York, April 21, 1928, lot 271; sold to Duveen); [ Duveen Brothers , 1928 ] ; Martha Baird Rockefeller (until 1971; sale, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, October 23, 1971, lot 711; sold for $410,000 to Jack Linsky); Jack and Belle Linsky , New York (1971–82; to MMA)