The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens owned by the French aristocrats and the royals
German Ébéniste ‘cabinetmaker’ who founded what became one of Europe’s most renowned furniture manufactory, Abraham Roentgen, the father of David Roentgen, and the famous cabinetmaker to Queen Marie-Antoinette of France, was celebrated for his marquetry work, his interesting use of inlays, inventive mechanical fittings, and the hidden drawers he used in furniture. The meteoric rise of the father-and-son duo blazed across 18th Century continental Europe, thanks to their super craftsmanship, formal imagination and innovative designs which were combined with intriguing mechanical devices to revolutionize traditional French and English furniture types. Now, some 60 – 65 pieces of Roentgens luxury furniture and clocks, several of which has never before been lent for exhibition, and are complemented by paintings that depict these unrivaled masterpieces in contemporary interiors, will be exhibited for the very first time as part of the ‘Extravagant Inventions – The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens’ exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Notably, the Roentgens worked for the elite clients, including Louis XVI of France, Catherine the Great of Russia, the King Frederick William II of Prussia, along with sundry German princes and nobles.
This new exhibit scheduled which will be showcased from October 30 through January 27th is regarded as the first-in-depth survey of the brilliant artistry and engineering of father-and-son team of Abraham and David Roentgen. Out of all the 60 artistic furniture pieces being exhibited, the highlights include:-
Considered to be the pinnacle of Abraham’s career, a writing desk from 1758-62, boasts rife exterior with depictions of either pastoral landscapes or intricate architectural interiors. The desk’s hidden drawers include a secret niche in the tabernacle to hold a devotional object, and a foldout prayer stool.
Music Box by David Roentgen for Marie Antoinette
This astounding music box in the form of an automation of Marie Antoinette, blond and delicate, playing one of her favorite Gluck melodies on a Dulcimer, was the item that David used to impress the Queen of France.
Some of the other exhibition highlights include the Berlin Secretary cabinet, an eighteenth Century unfolding gaming table (pictured below), the Roentgens’ dressing table, and the famous Roentgens’ shape-shifting Rolltop desk, to name a few.