Four extraordinary chairs, ordered by the Comte d’Artois in 1778, more than triple their estimate
PARIS.- On Wednesday 22nd July 2020, Artcurial’s Furniture & Works of Art department presented an exceptional suite of Louis XVI period royal furniture, which belonged to the Comte d’Artois, later to become King Charles X. After a long auction battle by telephone and in the room, these seats were sold under the hammer of the auctioneer and furniture specialist Isabelle Bresset, at €1,174,500 / $1,350,675 including costs, more than triple their estimate.
These seats were ordered to furnish the famous bed chamber designed as a military tent and are a rare example of the great creative achievements and refinements of the neoclassicism movement in the end of the 1770’s. Decorated with lictors’ fasces entwined with laurel branches, they were executed by Georges Jacob (master in 1765) and the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Rode (master in 1766) as the archives clearly mention. Daring, they illustrate the extravagant character and modern taste of the commanditaire, who had a close relationship with his stepsister, the queen Marie Antoinette emulating each other in their pursuit of pleasure and luxury. Bagatelle also called “la folie d’Artois” was then built in a few weeks as a mere challenge.
Presumably considered as cutting edge in 1778, these fancy seats are still belonging to the Louis XVI aesthetics with a turquerie and delicate turn and announce the martial style of the years to come.
« This exceptional suite was executed in 1778 by the famous Georges Jacob and the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Rode for the celebrated bed chamber of the Comte d’Artois and future king Charles X at Bagatelle. It is a unique suite still preserved in its original condition and one of the most daring examples of the creativity and excellence of the craftsmen at the royal court’s service. This suite is leaving France to join another collection owned by great amateurs in love with the French Decorative arts, who will take an attentive care of them. » —Isabelle Bresset, Director, Auctioneer Furniture & Works of Art, Artcurial