Oppenordt, Alexandre Jean

Alexandre-Jean Oppenordt was born about 1639 in Gelderland, city of the Netherlands, then under Spanish rule. He came to settle in Paris at the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV and worked in the privileged enclosure of the Temple, place where cabinetmakers not yet received at the master's degree could exercise their profession.

He married a Frenchwoman named Judith Favier, who gave him three children and only one survived him, Gilles-Marie Oppenordt, the famous architect and decorator of the Regency and obtains in 1679, he obtained his naturalization. In March 1684, he received a dwelling in the galleries of the Louvre, proof of royal recognition and began to work for the service of the King's Buildings.

That same year, he was paid 3,600 pounds for "twelve cabinets of marquetry he made for the medals of His Majesty, at the rate of 300 L each." These cabinets were placed at Versailles in the niches of the cabinet of Curiosities also called the cabinet of the Medals and were completed by a sumptuous desk drawn by Berain (at the price of 6500 L) and four other cabinets of violets wood.

He became an ordinary cabinetmaker to the King and lived in the rue Fleury near Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois and in front of the Saint-Honoré clock.

Between 1684 and 1686, he executed the floor of the small Gallery of Louis XIV at Versailles. He also worked for Louvois, realizing two cabinets in pietra dura which will be mentioned in the inventory after the death of the latter in 1693. A drawing of Berain representing a project of cabinet of pietra lasted with the arms of Louvois is without doubt the only testimony that we owned both of these works. He once again testifies to the collaboration between Bérain and Oppenordt. This allows to attribute to Oppenordt, the execution of two works drawn by Berain: the sarcophagus commode of the Wallace Collection made from a datable Berain engraving, according to Jerome de la Gorce, around 1690-1695 and the marquetry floor of the royal coach of Stockholm executed in Paris in 1696.

We can see that, in the 1690s, because of the lack of credit due to the war against the League of Augsburg, orders from the King's Buildings Department were stopped but Oppenordt continued to receive 30 L in as a carpenter of the king. His last thirty years of activity are unknown, but it is known that he devotes them to a private clientele, among which was probably the Count of Toulouse, father of the Duke of Penthièvre. His activity seems to have stopped shortly after 1705, when he is quoted for having contributed to the embellishments of the hotel owned by the Prince de Condé at Versailles. Alexander Jean Oppenordt died in Paris on April 16, 1715.