The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand


Friday 18 December 2015, by Barbara Cogollos

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

Jean Henri RIESENER is one of the largest cabinetmakers in the history, style and talent have a lasting impact on the world of decoration and craft art. He is renowned as the master of Louis XVI furniture. Today, his creations are considered as an exceptional heritage.

Jean Henri RIESENER was born in Germany to Glabdeckon 4 July 1734. After arriving in Paris, he worked in the studio of the famous German cabinetmaker Jean François OEBEN and became one of his closest collaborators. With the untimely death of OEBEN in 1763 RIESENER took over the management of the studio while remaining under the patronage of the widow of OEBEN. This inauguration causes the departure of another famous collaborator Jean Francois Leleu. Indeed, he aspired, too, the position attributed to RIESENER.

In 1767 RIESENER marries the widow of OEBEN then in 1768 he obtained his Master of Arts and may put his stamp on his furniture (previously he used the OEBEN’s stamp). He takes this new recognition to complete and sign with his name- the famous office of King Louis XV ordered at OEBEN in 1760.

From there, RIESENER knows considerable success. His work, of great diversity and the sumptuous quality of his products open all the doors.

In 1774, with the enthronement of Louis XVI, RIESENER receives regular supplier cabinetmaker title of King and furniture of the crown. This supreme honor awarded him the orders of the court for 10 years. He deliver for very many royal residences as well as for foreign courts to the areas of the Duke of Orleans, Count of Artois, Mesdames the aunts of the King etc.

In 1776, the wife of RIESENER died, he remarries in 1783, in parallel, his business decline. His prices are deemed "excessive and even ridiculous" by Thierry De Ville d’Avray new Intendant General of the King’s cabinet guard. Finally, RIESENER is replaced by Guillaume Beneman, only Marie-Antoinette, deeply committed to the work of RIESENER continue to order it.

During the Revolution RIESENER is left without customers. With the help of painters DAVID and ROBERT, RIESENER is charging of setting up a commission to evaluate and sell the artwork captured in the looted and abandoned noble mansions. RIESENER take this opportunity to buy at low prices some of his furniture for resale. The Revolution and his changes have evolved the taste for decoration and RIESENER not succeed in resell any furniture.

The RIESENER career is finished, under the Empire he produces some furniture without much interest then in 1801 his workshop close permanently.

RIESENER knew glory thanks to the exceptional Louis XV desk by OEBEN started in 1760 and he completed and delivered in 1769. This office meets a huge success and was copied many times and by the greatest cabinetmakers until the twentieth century (Dasson, Lincke etc). After the delivery of this office, RIESENER is rapidly moving to the neoclassical style of Louis XVI. His furniture become very architected, compartmentalized in large mahogany framed panels of gilt bronze. The amounts of his secretary are concave or cut sides. For his bronzes, RIESENER uses the best architects of his time Duplessis, Gouthière, Forestry etc. Even his simplest bronzes, more discreet offer a chisled and absolutely impeccable craftsmanship.

RIESENER production is very varied. He produces both complicated furnitureladen with bronze than large marquetry panels, including his commodes, that much more sober and functional furniture as his secretaries. These, compartmentalized and underlined by bronzes are a specialty of RIESENER, he produced all kinds, including his private orders. Simply dressed mahogany, the furniture was molded or carved wood, soberly decorated with bronze to highlight the architecture. In addition, these productions were always perfect proportion and high quality.

Today, stamped furniture RIESENER are part of floret of the most prestigious collections in the world. These include the collections of the Museum of Chantilly, the Château de Versailles, the Carnavalet Museum, the Wallace Collection in London and the Metropolitan Museum in New York City.

Regarding auction houses, furniture RIESENER are regularly in auctions. Include among others a secretary flap mahogany Louis XVI auctioned $ 262,663 at Christie’s on 28-29 April 2000 in Monaco and another flap mahogany secretary, estimated at 50 000-60 € 000 Pescheteau- Babin in Paris and awarded € 132,000 June 10, 2010.

Also discover