(b. 1743, Herrnhaag, d. 1807, Wiesbaden)

Commode à vantaux

Oak, pine, walnut, mahogany and other woods; marble; gilt bronze; iron, steel, and brass, 90 x 136 x 69 cm
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

This important Roentgen commode, as well as another example in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, both have an illustrious provenance. Their histories may have begun in the royal apartments of Louis XVI at Versailles.

The two commodes are related closely to each other and to the latter's nearly identical counterpart at the Bayerisches Nationalmuseum in Munich. All three pieces are so-called commodes à vantaux, which means they have three doors concealing interior drawers; however, they all include a shelf compartment, rather than drawers, behind the central door, which transforms the type into a combination of the commode à vantaux and a variation called commode en bas d'armoire. The sides and the three front door panels are decorated with marquetry.

Januarius Zick, who frequently worked for David Roentgen, certainly designed the marquetry scenes on the front of the commodes as well as the ones on the sides, and undoubtedly Roentgen's engraver Elie Gervais produced the line drawings for the marquetry cutters to work from.