Friday, January 1, 1971

René Dubois (b. 1737- d.1799)


René Dubois
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René Dubois, Queen Marie-Antoinette’s cabinetmaker, was born in 1737 and died in early December 1799. Son and pupil of Jacques Dubois, he was named master at the age of 17 on June 25, 1755, but did not leave the family home, on the rue de Charenton, where he continued to collaborate with his father until the latter’s death in 1763. 
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He then went into partnership with his mother, Marie-Madeleine Brachet, who remained nominal head of the firm as a consequence of which he signed his works with his father’s mark I.DUBOIS. Adopting this mark moreover served to distinguish him from another René Dubois, who was working in Paris in the same profession at the time. 
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Combining a mature talent with the ardor of youth, the master began to assert his worth under favorable circumstances. It was the moment when styles were changing: there was a return to classical traditions and new formulas were being sought and artists had complete freedom to invent them. René Dubois was noticed because of his singular and charming creations. In 1772, the “Tablettes de Renommée” cited him as one of the capital’s leading cabinetmakers. It was doubtlessly the exceptional character of his works that attracted the favor of Marie-Antoinette, as she was infatuated with anything new and daring in art as well as fashion. After having worked for the Dauphine, the master became queen’s cabinetmaker. He was described as such for the first time in the General Merchants Almanach of 1779. 
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That same year, he separated from his wife, Barbe-Marguerite Anthiaume, and starting at that moment, abandoned the workbench to devote himself exclusively to the furniture trade. Having left the Faubourg Saint-Antoine, he opened a shop on the rue Montmartre, at the corner of the rue Saint-Eustache. His mother died in 1784 and he retired from business before the Revolution. 
He was living on the rue des Orfèvres when he died under the Directoire. 
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Comte François de Salverte. Les Ebénistes du XVIII° siècle. Les Editions d’art and d’histoire. Paris, 1955.