Jan van Mekeren
Jan van Mekeren (1658-1733) was a Dutch cabinetmaker of the Baroque period who was especially renowned for making richly decorated floral-marquentry cabinets inspired by Dutch still-life paintings. The brilliance of his trompe l’oeil illusions is the best example of realist marquentry in the period. Although his works have been compared with that of Boulle, the marquetry decoration of Van Mekeren is much more naturalistic and less geometric than that of Boulle. Today there are only nine remaining cabinets that are attributed to Van Mekeren, although several smaller pieces of furniture remain that are believed to be original Van Mekeren pieces.
The finest example of a Van Mekeren cabinet is in the collections of the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam and a comparable example is owned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Because few pieces by this extremely influential marquentry artist ever surface on the art market, collector’s routinely purchase antique furniture that merely mimics Van Mekeren’s style! A Dutch table in the style of Van Mekeren fetched $12,420 at Christie’s, London on 11 May 2000 because the floral marquentry design is similar to that on a Van Mekeren cabinet at the Belton House, Lincolnshire. A cabinet attributed to Jan Van Mekeren realized $81,616 at that same sale in May 2000! The side table, pictured below, circa 1685, is an example of Van Mekeren- inspired marquentry, but it lacks the realism achieved by the real Jan Van Mekeren. However, the piece realized $8,125 at Christie’s, New York on 24 November 2009, because it is in the style of Van Mekeren!
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