According to the previous owner, the present cabinet served as a filing cabinet in the judiciary of Electoral Saxony. And for anyone who thinks in drawers, it must have been a real delight to file papers in this noble piece of furniture. At first glance, the cabinet seems inconspicuous, because its inner life is hidden behind four powerful doors, which form a front with charming geometric wave decor. You also have to look for the keyhole first, but if you then turn the large key (itself a collector's item), 33 drawers appear, numbered consecutively in graceful maple marquetry. Remarkable is the authentic state of preservation with original fittings. Gable shape and the characteristic arched wave profiles speak for a manufacture by a Leipzig carpenter.



Furnier Nussbaum.
Einlagen in Ahorn.
227 × 167 × 69 cm

AUKTION 409 // LOT 131
€ 143.000 (inkl. 30 % Käuferaufgeld)

 Provenienz: Ehemals sächsischer Adelsbesitz

The type of cabinet with decoration by wave profiles is mostly associated with Frankfurt cabinetmaking, but is also found - in each case with regional peculiarities - in Nuremberg, Zurich, Strasbourg, and Saxony due to the guild migration. The center of the production of corrugated cabinets in Saxony seems not to have been the royal city of Dresden, but the trading city of Leipzig.

Characteristics of Leipzig wave cabinets are - as here - arched door wings and gables as well as the renunciation of key plates. On Saxon Baroque cabinets, dwarf floral marquetry decoration is also more common - here in the pediment surfaces between arched profiles and wreath offsets. The rich decoration with wave profiles and so-called noses, which give the front movement through light and shadow effects, requires special carpentry skills and is masterfully implemented in this piece of furniture.

Another typologically significant feature is the (rare) inlaid date "1707", which can provide a clue for the chronological classification of comparable objects and also coincides with a publication by Johann Christian Senckeisen, the head of the Leipzig cabinetmakers' guild, also published in 1707: in his "Leipziger Architektur- Kunst- und Seulen-Buch" (Leipzig Book of Architecture, Art and Columns), he reproduces in Figure 31 a crack for a cabinet whose doors are decorated with "halbrundten Stäbgen". Such drawings - i.e., design drawings - served as patterns for craftsmen.

Riss für einen Schrank aus dem „Leipziger Architektur- Kunstund Seulen-Buch“ von Johann Christian Senckeisen (1707)


Grassi Museum A wave cabinet can also be found in the Grassi Museum of Applied Art in Leipzig. A visit is not to be missed. The museum's permanent exhibition features arts and crafts and design from antiquity to the present. A tour reflects that man's basic needs to dress and decorate himself, to shape his dwelling and his environment have always remained the same over the millennia - in different forms. The discovery tour leads to vessels from Greek and Roman antiquity, Chinese robes and tea bowls from the Qing dynasty, and modern classics such as Bauhaus utility design and designer chairs from the pop era.




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Dr. Bettina Schwick M.A.

Furniture, Sculptures, Textiles

Bettina Schwick’s specialist fields are, on the one hand, 18th-century furniture – especially French ébénisterie (cabinet-making) – that has fascinated her to this day ever since her publication of an inventory catalogue on the historical furnishings of Ludwigsburg Palace and, on the other hand, medieval and Baroque sepulchral sculpture in Southern Germany, which she analysed in depth in her master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation. After graduating in art history from the universities of Würzburg and Munich, Bettina Schwick was a research fellow in the administrative department of the State-owned Palaces and Gardens of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart. This intensive involvement with historical furniture soon led her to London, Zurich and Amsterdam. As Junior Cataloguer in the Department of French and Continental Furniture at Sotheby’s she was involved in the auction ‘Of Royal and Noble Descent’, among other projects. Since her return to Munich at the end of 2001 Bettina Schwick has been in working in the core segment FINE ART at NEUMEISTER as the expert responsible for historical furniture, sculpture, furnishings and textiles.