IN THE MUSEUMS : Detroit Institute of Art 

Corner cabinets – Louis XVI era

By René Dubois.

Two lacquered corner cabinets, each with a rounded door, adorned with chiselled, gilded bronze ornaments. The top is made of white marble.

Location : Detroit Institute of Art.

The sheer amount of bronze ornaments on these two corner cabinets is quite impressive.

René Dubois was the son of Jacques Dubois, an important figure in the development of the Louis XV style. He quickly earned a favourable reputation after he was mentioned as “the Queen’s cabinetmaker” in the “General Almanach of Merchants” in 1779. Early on, he adopted the neoclassical style that came into fashion in the last quarter of the 18th century. He was constantly looking to create original pieces; this is evident in these corner cabinets, which combine lacquered panels and classical elements.

His original touch is probably what made him stand out to Marie-Antoinette, who was quite fond of bold, innovative aesthetic choices. The bronze ornaments that adorn these two pieces allowed him to explore different avenues: some of them are featured on the feet, while others serve as friezes, framing rods, fretwork, and garlands, both on the sides and along the edges of the cabinet doors.

René Dubois also created a number of painted, monochrome furniture pieces.