The Versailles Palace Chair
The splendor of Versailles is captured in this incredible antique Louis XVI chair that was once part of the legendary palace's private collection. The chair bears the mark of Versailles branded into the frame under the seat. Based on it's outstanding quality and distinctive craftsmanship, this chair is attributed to famed ébénistes Jean-Baptiste-Claude Sené or Jean-Baptiste Boulard, both of which have similar works currently housed in Versailles.
This chair reflects the change in style seen in the palace during the reign of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie-Antoinette. Furniture became lighter aesthetically in terms of design and color, and was often Neoclassical in form, as demonstrated by the use of straight, reeded legs and the use of restrained floral elements as seen in the present example. It cannot be overstated how extraordinary it is to acquire an actual furnishing from Versailles Palace. In terms of quality and provenance, this is perhaps the most important antique chair on the market today.
After the French Revolution when Versaille had been abandoned by King Louis XVI and the royal family, all but a handful of the estate's furnishings were sold off at auction between August 23, 1793 and January 19, 1795. The palace itself was kept under ownership of the government for the public, and eventually was used as a repository for confiscated works of art seized from churches and the homes of nobility. It wasn't until the rule of Louis-Philippe I that it was decreed that Versailles be dedicated as a museum to display "all the glories of France." A campaign to bring Versailles back to its original glory and restore what time and human neglect had damaged soon followed and continues to this day. It wasn't until after World War II that the French government began to actively seek and re-acquire as much of the original art and furnishing that belonged to Versailles prior to the revolution.