Armchair (fauteuil) from Louis XVI's Salon des Jeux at Saint Cloud

Georges Jacob French
Gilded by Louis-François Chatard

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 526

The 1789 inventory of Saint Cloud mentions a much larger set of furniture that had been commissioned from Georges Jacob two years before for the Salon des Jeux du Roi, or King's Gaming Room, at Saint Cloud. Jacob, one of the most successful chair makers of the eighteenth century, supplied sixty-two pieces of furniture, including sixteen identical armchairs, for this room where fortunes were won and lost at the gaming tables. According to the detailed account, Jacob charged 24 livres per armchair for cutting the walnut to shape and joining the various parts together. The carving, by an unidentified carver, cost 180 livres, and the gilding, by Louis-François Chatard, amounted to 240 livres. A paper label pasted underneath the frame identifies it as having been ordered in February 1788 for the gaming room at Saint Cloud. The notches cut underneath the frame next to the maker's stamp indicate that it is the third of four chairs that were ordered from Georges Jacob at that time, to supplement the set he had supplied the previous year. These formal chairs with straight backs, called fauteuils meublants, would have been placed along the walls of the room together with the settees and bergères of the set. The rectilinear frame of the armchair, with its curved front seat rail, scrolled arm supports, and turned straight legs all carved with guilloches, rosettes, and stylized leaves, is the epitome of neoclassicism. The 1789 inventory describes the upholstery on the set as a gray blue brocaded gros de Tour, or ribbed silk. Much of the gaming room seat furniture, including twelve of the armchairs, was still recorded at the palace in the spring of 1798. The Museum's chair was eventually acquired by Georges Hoentschel. The 1908 catalogue of his collection lists its Saint Cloud provenance but not its maker or date.

Armchair (fauteuil) from Louis XVI's Salon des Jeux at Saint Cloud, Georges Jacob (French, Cheny 1739–1814 Paris), Carved and gilded walnut; gold brocaded silk (not original), French, Paris

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