6.000 - 8.000
28 September 2021
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Rosewood veneered with two long and three short drawers
Hardware of reliefs and gilt decoration
France, 18th century
(minor losses and faults, restoration to top)
Pierre Migeon IV
Pierre Migeon IV was born in Paris on August 13th, 1696, at the heart of a long dynasty of French cabinetmakers, the son of Pierre Migeon III (1665- 1717), grandson of Pierre Migeon II (1637-1677) and great-grandson of Pierre Migeon I. He learned his trade within his family’s business, his official recognition as master cabinetmaker, “maître-ébéniste”, awarded to him at an unknown date before 1729. In 1739 he would become the master in the Migeon’s ancestral workshop. From early on in his career he acted as both dealer, “marchand”, and cabinetmaker, subcontracting labour from contemporary peers. This detail regarding his professional life, explains the numerous extant pieces that bear his stamp together with that of other makers. Such is the case of the bureau «de Vergennes» from the Louvre Museum collection, that features stamps for Migeon IV and for Jacques Dubois. From amongst the many renowned and most accomplished cabinetmakers that supplied Migeon stand out Léonard Boudin, Jacques Bircklé, Roger Vandercruse, Charles Topino, Gérard Péridiez and Mathieu Criaerd. Despite his many suppliers, the pieces bearing his stamp tend, nonetheless, to share impressive stylistic uniformity. Structurally his furniture privileges serpentine shapes, often truly robust, albeit not evidencing an excessively accentuated rococo taste. The veneers are restrained, infinitely entangled and almost always organized in geometric patterns and decorative cartouches of floral motifs enhanced in darker rosewood and mahogany timbers, a decorative solution that Pierre Migeon IV was one of the first to adopt. Although seldom present, his marquetry work is of outstanding quality, emerging vividly in diamond shapes, cubes, flowers or birds, well known in typologies such as reading tables, corner cabinets and secretaires. Of greater rarity is his use of lacquer and vernis Martin. Bronzes, ubiquitously mounted in many of Migeon’s contemporaries’ furniture, are rarely present in his production.
By researching the Rue de Charenton, in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, family workshop accounts books from the 1730s, it is clear that the company was prosperous and proficuous, the average annual sales for that decade reaching sums of between 23,000 and 37,000 francs. They are also elucidating in terms of the Migeon’s clientele, amongst which were members of French aristocracy, such as Louis XIV natural daughter Françoise Marie, Duchess of Bourbon (1677-1749), the Duke of Orleans (1703-1752) and the Duchess of Rohan-Rohan (1713-1756). From 1740 onwards Migeon IV will become supplier to the “Garde Meuble de la Couronne” and to other major French court figures such as the Duke de Boufflers and the Duke of Noailles, as well as to Louise de Orleans (1698-1743) and to Madame de Pompadour (1721-1764), who will endow him with a 3,000 francs pension. In addition to these prestigious patrons, he could also count amongst his customers many French high society politicians and financiers, clergy, ambassadors and foreign princes. On his death in 1758 he was succeeded by his son Pierre Migeon V (1733- 1775). Between 1775 and 1785 the business was managed by the latter’s widow, who would eventually be forced to declare bankruptcy and to close doors. Pierre Migeon IV superb artistry and sophisticated production place him at the level of other contemporary cabinetmakers such as André-Charles Boulle, Charles Cressent, Antoine Gaudreaux e Jean-François Oeben.
TIAGO FRANCO RODRIGUES
Literature: F. de Alvetre– Les ébenistes du XVIII siècle : Leurs oeuvres et leurs marques. New ed. Paris and Brussels, 1927. J. N. Ronfort, J. D. Augarde, B. Langer, - ‘Nouveaux aspects de la Vie et de l’œuvre de Bernard (II) Vanrisamburgh (1700-1766)’, in l’Estampille - L’Objet d’Art, n. 290, avril 1995, p. 36. P. Verlet – Les ébénistes du XVIII siècle français. Paris : Hachette, 1963. P. Verlet – Meubles de la Couronne conservés en Europe et aux ÉtatsUnis. Paris: Editions Picard, 1990. P. Verlet– Les meubles français du XVIII siècle, 2º edição. Paris : Presses Universitaire de France, 1982. S. Mouquin - ‘Pierre IV Migeon, Meubles en laque et en vernis’, in L’Estampille - L’Objet d’Art, décembre 1999, n. 342, p. 68. T. Wolvesperges – ‘Le Meuble français en laque au XVIIIe siècle’, Paris, 2000, pp. 65 e 29.