Commode (one of a pair)

Jacques Dubois French

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 525

A descendant of a family of French ébénistes, Jacques Dubois, may have been trained in the workshop of his half-brother, Nöel Gérard, a successful Parisian ébéniste and dealer during the 1720s and 1730s. Dubois did not become a master cabinetmaker until he was forty-eight years old, relatively late in his career. The inventory drawn up following his death in 1764 reveals a sizable workshop set up with twelve workbenches and the presence of a large range of luxury furniture decorated with Asian lacquer or floral marquetry, as well as a large stock of gilt-bronze mounts.

Executed in the Rococo style, this pair of commodes has a serpentine bombé front and slightly splayed serpentine sides. The front is treated as a single unit – without a horizontal division between the two drawers (sans traverse) – and is veneered with quartered tulipwood inlaid with trailing sprays of stylized flowers and leaves. A purplewood border foreshadows the placement of the mounts on the drawer fronts. Scrolling gilt-bronze mounts entwined with foliate trails are found on other pieces by or attributed to Dubois as well. The shape and placement of the mounts emphasize the curvilinear outline of the commodes.

Commode (one of a pair), Jacques Dubois (French, 1694–1763), Oak, veneered with tulipwood, purplewood, kingwood and sycamore; gilt-bronze mounts, brèche d'Alep marble top, French

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