Artwork of the Week: January 24

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Noel Gérard (French, active 1710–1736), Table (Bureau Plat)

Noel Gérard (French, active 1710–1736), Table (Bureau Plat), ebony, gilded bronze; mascaroons on corners and in center, about 1720–30. 77 1/8 x 36 1/4 in. Gallery 28C

We walk by them and use them every day—but this is not your ordinary, everyday table. Noel Gérard was a French cabinetmaker and furniture dealer with such clients as the King of Poland. During the transition period between the reigns of King Louis XIV (1643–1715) and Louis XV (1715–1774) there was a notable change in furniture styles, this table being a prime example. Bureaus such as this went from having a more formal and weighted appearance to looking lighter and less formal, expressing a sense of character. The table here recalls both time periods. It is grand with its exotic ebony wood and gilt bronze, but more playful with the faces of smiling satyrs mounted to the bronze decoration and the curved legs supporting the top.

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