A Rare Pair of Matte Gilt Bronze and White Carrara Marble Ewer-Form Vases, Louis XVI period

Pierre Gouthière

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Attributed to Pierre Gouthière
A Rare Pair of Matte Gilt Bronze and White Carrara Marble Ewer-Form Vases
Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1780-1785
Height 34 cm; width 15.5 cm; base 10.8 cm x 10.8 cm

- Christian Baulez, Pierre Gouthière, ciseleur-doreur du roi, Paris, 2016

The baluster-shaped ewer vases, made of white Carrara marble, are elaborately decorated with magnificent chased and matte gilt mounts. Reclining against their beadwork-adorned necks are young satyrs who hold in their hands two ivy swags that hang down on the opposite side and are held in place by ribbons. The ewers’ lips are decorated with molding that terminates in scrolls; their curved spouts are embellished with a finely chased molded reserve and wide acanthus leaves that terminate in laurel finials. The stepped square bases are adorned with gadrooning and delicate bead friezes.

The very unusual design of this pair of decorative ewer-form vases was inspired by the work of Parisian designers of the time. The exceptional quality of the chasing, which displays great precision, delicacy, and naturalism in the depiction of the ornamental motifs - particularly in the rendering of the ivy leaves and the figures of the young satyrs – as well as the brilliant, deep and long-lasting gilding, indicate these vases must be attributed to Pierre Gouthière, the virtuoso Parisian gilder who worked for Queen Marie-Antoinette, among others. Today, only two pairs of identical vases are known, both of which are made of white statuary marble.  The first pair, in which the patina of the two satyrs differs from that of the present pair of ewers, was offered on the Paris art market and is today in an important private collection. The second pair, which features gilt figures but differs in its bases, which are decorated with ribbon-tied bulrush toruses, previously belonged to Baron James de Rothschild (1878-1957) and was offered, during the sale of his famous collection, in the Palais Galliera in Paris by auctioneers Rheims and Laurin, held on December 1, 1966, lot 73.
Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813) was no doubt the most talented Parisian chaser of his time. He boasted, among his patrons, the Duke d’Aumont, one of the most important collectors of the second half of the 18th century. In 1767 Gouthière was named doreur ordinaire des Menus Plaisirs du Roi. The Menus Plaisirs was responsible for the commissions given by the King to various artists and artisans. The nomination greatly enhanced his reputation and won him a clientele of connoisseurs of rare and precious objects, including the royal family, the duc d’Aumont, important aristocrats such as the Marquis of Marigny, brother of the Marquise de Pompadour, Princess Kinsky, the King’s mistress Countess du Barry, the Duchess of Mazarin, the Duke of Duras, the Duchess of Villeroy, and well-known financiers such as the wealthy treasurer of the Marine, Baudard de Saint-James, and the influential banker Thélusson.

Object Name: A Rare Pair of Matte Gilt Bronze and White Carrara Marble Ewer-Form Vases, Louis XVI period
Artist name: Pierre Gouthière
Reference: O053
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