Almost all the objects gathered by Comte Moïse de Camondo represent the French decorative arts of the second half of the eighteenth century. His expressed intention was “to recreate an eighteenth-century artistic residence.”

Antique wood paneling provides a backdrop for creations by the cabinetmakers and carpenters who supplied the Royal Furniture Repository with luxurious furniture. Although few in number, the pieces from the Rococo period – such as the pair of lacquer corner cupboards with gilt bronze mounts by BVRB – are outstanding in quality. The many and varied furniture items from the Transition period and the reign of Louis XVI were carefully selected and are characterized by their elegant simplicity: the small roll-top desk by Jean-François Œben; the pieces decorated with porcelain plaques (fashionable from the 1760s on), stamped by Martin Carlin or RVLC; the trough-shaped sewing table by Jean-Henri Riesener, delivered in 1788 for Queen Marie Antoinette’s private apartments at the Château de Saint-Cloud. Many of the pieces made by carpenters are of royal provenance, such as the folding screen delivered in 1785 by Jean-Baptiste Boulard for Louis XVI’s games room at Versailles. Complementing the furniture, a number of mantel and wall clocks, barometers, chandeliers, wall lights and vases with gilt bronze mounts add sparkle to the wood paneling and furnishings. Some of these works are also of royal provenance, such as the pair of petrified wood lidded vases with chased gilt bronze mounts, from Marie Antoinette’s collection at Versailles.

The walls and floors are decorated with exclusive carpets and tapestries produced by the Gobelins, Beauvais and Aubusson factories. There are two particularly splendid sets of tableware: the silver pieces from the Orloff service, commissioned in 1770 by Empress Catherine II of Russia from the Parisian silversmith Roettiers, and the “Buffon” services in Sèvres porcelain decorated with birds, produced from the 1780s onward and copied from plates in the Comte de Buffon’s Natural History of Birds.

The paintings and sculptures reflect the sensibility of their collector. In addition to portraits by Elisabeth Vigée-LeBrun and François-Hubert Drouais, there are views of Venice by Francesco Guardi, landscapes by Hubert Robert and an exceptional series of sketches painted by Jean-Baptiste Oudry as cartoons for the “Royal Hunts of Louis XV” tapestries.

Comte Moïse de Camondo continued his acquisitions until his death in 1935. With a constant concern for perfection and harmony, he endeavored to acquire complete series or gather pairs of furniture pieces and art objects.

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