Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt / Small Desk (bureau brisé) / 17th century (ca. 1685)Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt
Small Desk (bureau brisé)
17th century (ca. 1685)

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Creator Name: Oppenordt, Alexandre-Jean
Creator Role: Maker
Creator Dates/Places: 1639-1715
Creator Name-CRT: Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt
Creator Name: Bérain, Jean
Creator Role: Designer
Creator Dates/Places: 1640-1711
Creator Name-CRT: Brass inlay designed and possibly engraved by Jean Bérain
Title: Small Desk (bureau brisé)
Title Type: Object name
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1683
Creation End Date: 1687
Creation Date: 17th century (ca. 1685)
Object Type: Decorative Arts and Utilitarian Objects
Classification Term: Woodwork-Furniture
Materials and Techniques: Oak, pine and walnut veneered with tortoiseshell; engraved brass, ebony and rosewood; bronze-gilt and steel
Dimensions: H. 30 5/16 in. (77 cm), W. 41 3/4 in. (106 cm), D. 23 3/8 in. (59.4 cm)
AMICA Contributor: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Owner Location: New York, New York, USA
ID Number: 1986.365.3
Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Charles Wrightsman, 1986

This compact desk was made for Louis XIV by the relatively unknown Dutch cabinetmaker Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt (1639-1715). It was one of a pair made for the king's study, a small room in the north wing of Versailles.

The closed top displays a blazon of Louis XIV's personal devices, including a crown above a monogram of interlaced L's. The crown is surmounted by a sunburst engraved with a now-indistinct outline of Apollo's mask. The sides of the top are inlaid with Apollo's lyres and the corners, with fleurs-de-lis.

The Museum's desk belongs to a type of furniture called 'bureaux brisés' (literally, 'broken desks'). The top, shown closed, is hinged to open, or 'break,' along its width to reveal a fitted interior, veneered with Brazilian rosewood, that consists of a cramped writing surface with four drawers at the back. The 'bureau brisé' originated in 1669 and continued to be made until the early eighteenth century, when a large flat-topped writing table, the 'bureau plat,' replaced it.

AMICA ID: MMA_.1986.365.3
AMICA Library Year: 2000
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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