National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Corner-Cupboard (encoignure) Jean Desforges (cabinetmaker)
French, active c. 1739
Corner-Cupboard (encoignure), probably 1745/1749
veneered on oak, stained black, with ebonized wood; japanned on each door with _vernis Martin_; gilded bronze mounts; black and gold Portor marble top
overall: 100.4 x 88.4 x 67 cm (39 1/2 x 34 13/16 x 26 3/8 in.)
Widener Collection
1942.9.417
On View
From the Tour: Rococo Decorative Arts of the Mid-1700s
Object 3 of 7

French imitations of Oriental lacquer, regardless of which craftsmen made them, are called vernis Martin after the Martin brothers, who perfected and patented a varnishing technique in 1730. On this corner cupboard (one of a pair) with interior shelves, the rich black luster may have required as many as forty coats of hand-rubbed varnish.

The landscapes contrast the themes of war and peace. On the cabinet shown in this tour, mounted Chinese soldiers attack a building with a closed gate. On the other cabinet, philosophers converse in an open pavilion while hunters return with their quarry.

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