18 July 2024

From 08 June to 06 October

The Musée Condé in Chantilly conserves two desks created by one of the greatest French cabinet-makers of all time, André Charles Boulle. For the first time in France, an exhibition will be dedicated to him from June to October 2024, in the Grands Appartements des Princes de Condé at the Château de Chantilly.

The finest creations of this genius, commissioned by the greatest patrons (the King, the Grand Dauphin, the Prince of Condé, the Duchess of Burgundy), will be brought together at the Château de Chantilly to celebrate the excellence of French furniture, whose technique is equalled only by the grace of its forms. The life and long career of André Charles Boulle (1642-1732) are now well known. Both an artist and a craftsman, the cabinetmaker worked for more than fifty years for the Bâtiments du roi (King's Buildings) and, with his workshop, took on commissions from the royal family and high nobility. He achieved a degree of technical perfection, particularly in the marquetry of metal and tortoiseshell, which he brought to the highest level.

A bronze-smith of genius, he imposed gilded bronze on furniture, renewing its typologies. He was also an inquisitive collector and a talented draughtsman, keen to promote his work, particularly through engraving. Closely associated with the sumptuousness of French art in the reign of Louis XIV, he became a household name during his lifetime, and has remained so ever since.

André Charles Boulle played a central role in the development of French furniture in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. Along with the commode, the flat desk was one of his most important creations at the end of the reign of Louis XIV. Alongside the production of six-legged desks and eight-legged lateral pedestal desks, Boulle invented a new model of desk, with a single row of three drawers at the top resting on four legs. This flat desk made his name: marquetry of brass and tortoiseshell, rich ormolu sconces, and slender, arched forms all served to create an elegant piece of furniture, the ultimate symbol of power. Numerous examples were produced from the 1710s onwards, culminating in the early years of the Regency. The formulas introduced by Boulle were to define the shape of the French flat desk for more than half a century, if not longer.

The exhibition will retrace this evolution in forms and decorations, bringing together a significant number of desks created by Boulle whose provenance has long been attested, and placing the marquetry furniture in part and in part side by side in an aesthetic and educational manner. Alongside them, other essential pieces from the same workshop will complete this stimulating panorama and put into context a production like no other. Bookcases, consoles, sheaths, torchieres, caskets, chandeliers, medallions and bookbindings, all of illustrious provenance, will serve as reminders of the extent of the talent and creativity of this artist of genius.


Child rate 14,50 €
Adult rate 18 €


From 08 June to 06 October
Monday Open from 10h à 18h
Tuesday Closed
Wednesday Open from 10h à 18h
Thusday Open from 10h à 18h
Friday Open from 10h à 18h
Saturday Open from 10h à 18h
Sunday Open from 10h à 18h