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Although the cabinetmaker Jean-François Oeben produced a number of similar commodes, this one's unusually short legs and shallow depth indicate that he probably made it for a specific location. The gilt-bronze mounts with motifs drawn from ancient Greece made it a commode à la grecque (in the Greek style). Collectors at the forefront of fashion admired the inlaid wood decoration, as well as the motifs drawn from classical antiquity: laurel leaves and intertwining bands known as guilloche.

As he did in other works, Oeben fitted this commode with an ingenious locking mechanism, using one lock to control the whole commode. The side drawers in the frieze cannot be opened unless the center drawer has been pulled out slightly. A metal rod at the back of the drawer is then released, allowing the sides to be opened smoothly. Each of these drawers opens with circular pulls, cleverly corresponding to the guilloches in the gilt-bronze decorative band.

Details

  • Title: Commode (3/4 right)
  • Creator: Jean-François Oeben
  • Date Created: about 1760
  • Location Created: Paris, France
  • Physical Dimensions: 92 × 140.6 × 47 cm (36 1/4 × 55 3/8 × 18 1/2 in.)
  • Type: Furniture
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Oak veneered with maple, tulipwood, amaranth, and Ceylon satinwood; gilt-bronze mounts; campan mélangé vert marble top
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 72.DA.54
  • Culture: French
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Jean-François Oeben (French, born Germany, 1721 - 1763, master 1761)
  • Classification: Decorative Art (Art Genre)

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