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Overview

The Roentgen family of Germany produced exquisite furniture with ingenious mechanical fittings, coveted by aristocratic patrons throughout 18th-century Europe. The panel that forms the top of this table probably originally adorned the front of a tall cabinet acquired by King Louis XVI of France. When the cabinet was dismantled after the French Revolution, its parts were incorporated into new furniture. In this panel of marquetry, the variously colored sections were cut and arranged to resemble an illusionistic painting of spirited young musicians. The small patch at the top center marks the former cabinet's keyhole. The Widener collection also includes a writing table that belonged to Louis's queen, Marie Antoinette.

Provenance

Arthur Seymour. (Duveen Brothers, Inc., New York); inheritance from Estate of Peter A.B. Widener by gift through power of appointment of Joseph E. Widener, Elkins Park, Pennsylvania, after purchase 9 December 1915 by funds of the estate; gift 1942 to NGA.

Exhibition History
1973
François Boucher in North American Collections: One Hundred Drawings, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Art Institute of Chicago, 1973-1974, not in catalogue or brochure (shown only in Washington).
Bibliography
1980
Greber, Josef Maria. Abraham und David Roentgen, Möbel für Europa. Starnberg, 1980: 2:pls. 623-624.
1994
Himmelheber, Georg. "Roentgens Prunkmöbel für Ludwig XVI." Zeitschrift für Kunstgeschichte 57, no. 3 (1994): 466, 467 figs. 5(detail) and 6, 468.
1998
Croll, Gerhard. "Intarsierte Musik - Musikalische Marketerien. Eine Pergolesi-Arie 1776 bei David Roentgen." In Österreichische Musik. Beiträge zur Musikgeschichte Mitteleuropas. Theophil Antonicek zum 60. Geburtstag. Tutzing, 1998: 185.
2000
Ramond, Pierre. Masterpieces of Marquetry. 3 vols. Translated by Tim Levenson and Brian Considine. Los Angeles, 2000: 3:126.
2012
Koeppe, Wolfram. Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgens. Exh. cat. Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2013: 33-34, repro.