CRAMER. d. 1804; MASTER 1771; MARCHAND-£b£NISTE

B

orn at Grcvenbroich in the northern Rhine­land. an area in Germany from which many eighteenth-century eb£nistes originated. Mathieu-Guillaume Cramer settled in Paris at an unknown date. When he married in 1771 he was already established as an independent ebenistc in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Antoine; he was close to Carlin who was a witness to his marriage contract. He mar­ried one of the daughters of the ebeniste Isaac- Edmond Collet, living in the same quarter. Cramer contributed a portion fixed at 3.500 livres mainly in stock and tools, a sign that he had been active in his profession for some time. The bride. Marthe – Suzanne-Frangoise Collet, brought a dowry of 2.600 livres. She came from a dynasty of ёЬёп1$1ев including not only her father and grandfather, but her uncle

Jean-Michel Collet, marchand-ebeniste, and an uncle by marriage. Gilles Joubert. Cramer, no doubt with the help of all these connections, was able to obtain his mastership soon after his marriage, on 4 September 1771. A few years later he moved to the rue du Вас where he established himself as a marchand-ebeniste.

The inventory taken after the death of his wife in 1783 by Vandercruse (R. V. L. C.) and N. Petit gives a good idea of the state of his business and his pro­duction. More than two hundred pieces of furniture are described in it. either finished or unfinished, of which the majority were in mahogany, tulipwood, bois satine or marquetry. They mostly comprised a variety of tables (tea. games, writing, gueridons) but also commodes, cncoignures. secr£taires, chiffon – niers, spinning wheels, tapestry frames and n£ces-

saircs. The marquetry pieces were described as being in bois gris with flowers (probably striped sycamore) or tulipwood with pale rosettes. There is no mention of what are considered today to be characteristic motifs of Cramer: marquetry of rosettes on a ground of bois jaune (satinwood or maplewood stained yellow).

The workshop was fitted with five work-benches, a sign of prosperous activity. Cramer also commis­sioned furniture from his fellow eb£nistes such as Ancellet, Canabas, Dautriche. Feuerstein. Vander – cruse(R. V. L. C.), Petit. Roussel. Topinoand Vassou. their names appearing on the list of creditors for ‘fur­niture supplied’. His debts, however, were consider­able. His clientele included the Due de Montmorency, the Duchesse du Chatelet and the Prince de Broglie. Cramer, ruined by the Revolution, went bankrupt in 1790 and died in poverty in the rue de Harlay in 1804.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Min. Cen. X/861, 17 September 1783, inventory taken

after the death of Mme Cramer

F. de Salverte: Lcs Ebenistes, p. 70

Daniel Alcouffe: exh. cat. Defense du patrimoine national.

1978, pp. 73-74

13751 Secretaire <i gradin stamped Cramer, с. 1780 with marquetry of overlapping four – lobed motifs on a satinwood ground. I Metropolitan Museum of Art, New YorkI

I376J (below left I Commode, one of a pan stamped Cramer, c. 1772-75, with marquetry, including the top, of four-lobed motifs. The shape as well as the mounts are typical of the work of R. V. I.. C. who was among Cramer’s subcontractors and must hair provided the carcases of some of his furniture.

IChristie’s New York, 5 November 1986, lot 2021

13771 Small table stamped both Pioniez and Cramer, the latter as retailer, c. 1775-80, with marquetry of four-lobed motifs.

I Private collection I

Godefroy