Sofa (canapé à confidents)

Claude I Sené French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 541

A sofa of this type, with a wide central section and a single outward-facing seat at each end, was called a canapé à confidents, although a design less likely to encourage exchange of confidences would be hard to imagine. Examples were made primarily in the Louis XV and Louis XVI periods, and only a small number survive. However impractical, the form was highly decorative, and it appears in designs for neoclassical wall elevations where the shape and carving are conceived in harmony with the wall paneling.[1] On the present piece, the carving on the wreaths of roses and olive branches tied by a ribbon at the top of each end is particularly skillful. This canapé has been described by both the comte de Salverte and Guillaume Janneau as Sené's finest known piece of furniture in the Louis XVI style.

[Bill Rieder, 1984]

[1] An example by Richard de Lalonde in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, is illustrated in World Furniture, ed. H. Hayward, New York, 1965, p. 124, fig. 453.

Sofa (canapé à confidents), Claude I Sené (French, 1724–1792), Carved and gilded beechwood upholstered in modern blue dotted silk, French

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