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Following Sotheby’s two previous selling exhibitions of Western fine and decorative arts held in 2012 and 2013, the renowned international auction house will mount its third annual “Age of Elegance: European Paintings, Furniture and Sculpture” sale in Beijing on September 7 and 8.

Hosted in the Grand Ballroom of the Kerry Hotel, “Age of Elegance” contains an exquisitely curated selection of 65 items that embody the stellar craftsmanship and extravagantly ornamental tastes of European decorative arts from the rococo period up until the 20th century.

At the very highest end of the scale is Francois Linke’s extraordinary Grand Bureau (US$6 million), a gilt bronze writing desk and chair first shown at the Paris World Expo in 1900 that represents the summit of belle époque splendor.

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On view through January 27, 2013 at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Extravagant Inventions: The Princely Furniture of the Roentgen’s is the first comprehensive exhibition to focus on the Roentgen family’s cabinetmaking firm, which operated from 1742 into the early 1800s. Extravagant Inventions presents around sixty pieces of furniture, many of which have never been seen outside of Europe.

Abraham Roentgen (1711-1793) and his son David (1743-1807) were pioneering figures in 18th century Continental furnituremaking. Based in Germany, the Roentgen firm’s style is characterized by opulence, inventiveness (they often incorporated hidden compartments and secret drawers into their works), and ornate, finely carved shapes. The Roentgens served clients around Europe including France’s Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette and Russia’s Catherine the Great.  

Extravagant Inventions brings together works from various international collections as well as six works from the Met’s own holdings. Highlights include a writing desk (circa 1758-1762) designed by Abraham Roentgen and considered one of the greatest creations from his workshop, a mechanical secretary cabinet (1779) made for King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, and a pair of marquetry portraits (1775-1780) depicting a man and a woman, which exemplifies the marquetry technique the Roentgens were renowned for.

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