Jean-Ferdinand-Joseph Schwerdfeger


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(b Germany, 1734; d Paris, 10 March 1818). French cabinetmaker of German birth. By 1760 he had settled in Paris, where he became a master in the guild of menuisiers-ébénistes in 1786. The following year he was commissioned by the city of Paris to make a jewellery cabinet for Marie-Antoinette (Versailles, Château), an undertaking supervised by the Directeur du Garde-Meuble de la Reine, for whom Schwerdfeger may already have been working. Pierre-Philippe Thomire was entrusted with the making of the large figure mounts of the Seasons for the cabinet, which was further ornamented with painted decoration and porcelain plaques. This piece, a secrétaire and a commode (both Boston, MA, Mus. F.A.) made at about the same time for the Chambre de Treillage at the Petit Trianon, Versailles, are his greatest commissions and show his liking for well-figured mahogany with gilt-bronze mounts. In the early 19th century Schwerdfeger seems to have specialized in the production of clockcases, particularly for the clockmaker Antide Janvier (1751-1835).

From The Grove Encyclopedia of Decorative Arts in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Decorative Arts, Furniture, and Industrial Design.

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