Saturday, July 17, 2010

Painting in Wood Jewel Cabinet

I choose the photo of my jewel cabinet for the first page of my blog because I believe it is one of my best works. I remember the first time I visited the Getty museum (the original site in Malibu) just after it opened to the public. It was a charming and exciting place, off the beaten path with all the wonderful objects in place, as if it were a home. You could stand within inches of these masterpieces, and as long as you were respectful, spend hours examining the surface.

One of my favorite pieces was the coffer, attributed to Andre-Charles Boulle, which is completely covered in marquetry on an ebony fond. During the late 17th century it was popular to use a dark background wood (ebony or ferrol) which created a dramatic effect. The exotic hardwood veneers were hand sawn to about 2mm thick, and individually placed in hot sand to produce shadows in the wood.

I believe that marquetry pictures, in particular Painting in Wood pictures should properly be considered Fine Art instead of Decorative Art. Just because they are glued to furniture doesn't make them any less artistic. Perhaps my prejudice is showing?

In any event, I have posted the pictures of all the surfaces of my jewel cabinet, which has been shown in two American museums and currently resides in a private collection. All of the elements of the design are derived from French and Dutch marquetry examples. I hope you enjoy them, and I wish you could examine them up close, like I was able to do at the Getty so many years ago.

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