The 1763 inventory also lists Oeben’s clientele. It was made up of the high nobility and the Court. The prin­cipal debtors, besides the Garde-Meuble Royal (8.(XM)L). were the I)uc d’Aumont (1.500L). the Duchesse de Lauraguais (1.397L), the Duchessc de Cirammont. sister of Choiseul (968L). M. de Valen- linois (1.535L) and ‘Monsieur le Premier’ (1.176L). The only fermier-general mentioned is Grimod de la Reyniere (written as ‘la Reigniere’). but we know from other sources that Gaignat owned a secretaire by him (lot 198 in his sale in 1768). The ministers Choiseul and D’Argenson were also clients. Mme de Pompa­dour. as we have seen, was one of his important clients from 1750 onwards. Oeben also supplied the Duchesse de Brancas. For this demanding clientele he created sophisticated pieces of furniture which are almost all unique pieces; in fact, although his work is homogeneous in style, which might suggest that he created his own designs, his pieces of furniture always differ from each other, however small the changes.


Inventory taken after the death of Jean-Fran<;ois Oeben. Archtivs de iart fran^ais. vol. xv. 1899. pp. 298-367 Rosemarie Stratmann: thesis on Oeben. University of Heidelberg. July 1971; ‘lX*sign and mechanisms in the furniture of J. F. Oeben’. Furniture History Society Bulletin. vol. ix. 1973. pp. 110-13; ‘Notices biographiques inedites sur la famille Oeben’. Gazette des Beaux-Arts. March

1980. pp. 125-28

Sir Francis Watson: ‘A note on French marquetry and Oriental lacquer’. J. Paul Getty Museum Journal, vol. ix.

1981. pp. 157-60

Alexandre Pradere: ‘Mme de Pompadour et le gout grec’. Connaissance des Arts, December 1989. pp. 106-09

12811 Secretaire a abattant, stamped J.-F. Oeben; six secretaires of this type are described in the inventory drawn up after Oeben’s death in 1763.

(Sotheby’s lumdon, 25 June 1982, lot 149)