Jean-Francois Oeben


Originally from the Rhineland, Jean-Francois Oeben (1721-63), emigrated to Paris in the late 1740’s. From 1750-1754 he worked as an independent artisan in Charles-Joseph Boulle's workshop and rented a mezzanine at the Louvre. In 1754, the year of Boulle’s death, Oeben was granted the title of ébéniste du roi and moved to the Gobelins.

His clientele included the Garde-Meuble Royal, the Duc D'Aumont, Madame de Pompadour and the Ministers Choiseul and D'Argenson. He was particularly renowned for his mechanical furniture and in 1760 was granted the title of ébéniste mécanicien du roi. His most famous work was an extraordinary mechanical roll-top desk the Bureau de Roi created for Louis XV and now at Versailles. After his death, his workshop was run by his widow who married his most accomplished apprentice, Jean-Henri Riesener.