Armchair (Fauteuil à la reine)

attributed to Georges Jacob French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 528

This armchair with a medallion shaped back surmounted by a rippled bowknot, its columnar uprights surmounted by finials shaped like flaming cassolettes, seems to be depicted in two paintings by Adelaide Labille-Guiard (1749–1803). Principal painter to "Mesdames Tantes," the unmarried aunts of Louis XVI, Labille-Guiard exhibited a full-length portrait of Madame Adelaide at the Salon of 1787. The princess stands in front of the chair, her robe draped over its arm. Three years later the artist painted Charles-Roger, prince de Bauffremont (1713–1795), seated in what seems to be the same chair. In both portraits it is upholstered in blue-green velvet. Since no other armchair of this model is known, it is possible that this very piece of seat furniture once belonged to Madame Adelaide. According to Eleonore-Charlotte-Adelaide-Louise d'Osmond, comtesse de Boigne (1781–1866), whose mother had been a lady-in-waiting to the princess, she was considered the cleverest of the Mesdames Tantes. She hated wine and strongly objected to the common habit of spitting, becoming enraged if anyone spat in her presence. She never married, preferring to keep her position as a Daughter of France. Together with her sister Victoire, Madame Adelaide ordered fashionable furnishings for the Chateau de Bellevue, their country residence overlooking the Seine, which had formerly belonged to Madame de Pompadour.

Armchair (Fauteuil à la reine), attributed to Georges Jacob (French, Cheny 1739–1814 Paris), Carved and gilded beech; silk upholstery (not original), French, Paris

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