Sofa (canapé à confidents)

Jean-Jacques Pothier

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 526

This elaborately carved beechwood sofa (canapé) is stamped several times: I. POTHIER. Jean-Jacques Pothier was elected a maître menusier in 1750. Around 1775-76, he established his workshop in the Rue de Bourbon-Villeneuve, Paris, and appears to have retired around 1780.

The curvilinear shape of the frame with its crest-rail curving around the ends to form armrests, the serpentine seat-rail and the seven short cabriole legs are still expressions of the Rococo style. However, the continuous molding along the legs, seat-rail, arm supports and crest-rail, as well as the symmetrical floral and foliage carving makes this sofa a Transitional piece.

Pothier made other seat furniture in the Transitional style by introducing classical motifs such as the Greek key pattern, thereby heralding the advance into Neo-classicism (see armchair 07.225.60).

Very little is known about Pothier’s clientele. His oeuvre shows a high level of craftsmanship and great attention to detail. He seems to have worked regularly with the foremost menuisier Georges Jacob since a number of virtually identical pieces come from both workshops.

Sofa (canapé à confidents), Jean-Jacques Pothier (master 1750, working until ca. 1780), Carved and gilded beech, modern silk lampas, French

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