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Époques: Louis XVI

  • Weisweiler  -  Lignereux
    Adam Weisweiler (1744-1820)
    Martin-Éloi Lignereux (1751-1809)

    Important Pair of Yew-Veeered and Gilt Bronze “à brisure” Commodes

    Capture d’écran 2015-10-10 à 15.56.31

    Made under the Supervision of Daguerre & Lignereux

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785-1790

    Stamp: A. WEISWEILER

    Height95 Width133.5 Depth58.5

    Provenance:

    -Acquired in Paris in 1803 by Thomas Bruce, 7th Count of Elgin and 11th Count of Kincardine (1766-1841), from the marchand-mercier Martin-Eloi Lignereux.

    -Thence by descent, kept in Broomhall House in Fife, Scotland.

    -Collection of Lord Bruce, sold Christie’s, London, May 31, 1962, lot 83.

     

    The three-part façade of each commode features a slightly protruding central panel. The rectangular commodes have two doors, one of them “à brisure”, and an upper row of three drawers. The façade and the sides are veneered in yew wood, with molded gilt bronze mounts that are adorned with bead friezes. In the front the side columns are rounded, in the back they are in the form of pilasters; they are decorated with brass-inlaid fluting and feature panels that are chased with bands of alternating stylized motifs. The lower apron is adorned with stylized friezes and plain copper or brass panels. The commodes rest upon four toupie feet with knurled chapters and molded bases; their tops are of gray-veined white marble.

    These two neoclassical commodes, which are characteristic of the finest Parisian cabinetmaking of the final decades of the 18th century, are a perfect illustration of the collaboration between Adam Weisweiler and the firm Daguerre & Lignereux. Commodes of this type are mentioned in contemporary documents, such as the probate inventory of the Prince or Princess of Salm, drawn up in August 1795, in which a bedroom is stated to have contained: “A commode in bird’s eye mahogany, with three doors adorned with ormolu gilt copper mounts, with a white marble tabletop, 3000 livres”. The present commodes also possess a prestigious and uninterrupted provenance – the descendants of the Count of Elgin still possess the invoices concerning the pieces their ancestor acquired from Parisian marchand-mercier Martin-Eloi Lignereux, the former associate and Parisian representative of Dominique Daguerre: on Prairial 15 in the year XI (4 June 1803), Lignereux sold to the Count of Elgin, for the sum of 2100 francs: “Two commodes in selected  bird’s eye wood, opening on the front by means of three doors adorned with gilt bronze mounts, with inner drawers set on cleats, said commodes without marble top”. They were later mentioned in the inventory of the “Principal Drawing Room” of Broomhall House in Fife, Scotland.

    Today, only a few similar Weisweiler commodes are known to exist. Among them, one piece with three drawers is on display in the Musée national du Château de Versailles (see P. Lemonnier, Weisweiler, Editions Monelle Hayot, Paris, 1983, p. 57). A second commode is in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (Inv. 25.161/Fletcher Fund 1925). A third, formerly in the Palace of Fontainebleau, is today in the Musée du Louvre in Paris (illustrated in J-P. Samoyault, Fontainebleau, Musée national du château, Catalogue des collections de mobilier 3, Meubles entrés sous le Premier Empire, RMN, Paris, 2004, p. 370, catalogue n° 305). One further commode of this type is in the Royal British Collections in Buckingham Palace (see H. Roberts, For the King’s Pleasure, The Furnishing and Decoration of George IV’s apartments at Windsor Castle, 2001, p. 333, fig. 416).

    Adam Weisweiler (1744 - 1820)

    Adam Weisweiler is a cabinetmaker who became a master in Paris on March 26, 1778. Having settled in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine quarter, he quickly gained renown, becoming one of the most important cabinetmakers of the final years of the reign of Louis XVI. He worked for the most important collectors of the time through the intermediary of marchand-merciers Dominique Daguerre and Martin-Eloi Lignereux. The Revolution does not seem to have greatly affected him; at this time he purchased several buildings. He continued to be active during the Empire period, working for the Queen Hortense, among others.



    Martin-Éloi Lignereux (1751 - 1809)

    Martin-Eloi Lignereux was one of the most important marchand-merciers (merchants of luxury objects) of the last quarter of the 18th century and the early years of the following century. On April 1, 1787, he went into partnership with Dominique Daguerre, thus becoming the Parisian representative of the Daguerre & Lignereux firm, which was established at 85, rue Saint-Honoré. After Daguerre’s retirement in 1793, he continued to run the firm with great success, while conserving his predecessor’s clientele and playing an important role in the renewal of contemporary Parisian decorative art. In 1801, he was awarded a gold medal at the Exhibition of the Products of Industry, where it was noted that “in the opinion of all observers, the furniture made by Citizen Lignereux is remarkable for its elegance and lavish embellishments, for the choice of the appropriate form for each piece, and finally, for the exactness and high-quality finishing of both the interiors and the exteriors”. Several years previously, his daughter Adélaïde-Anne had married the renowned Parisian cabinetmaker François-Honoré-Georges Jacob, known as Jacob-Desmalter. In 1804 Lignereux retired, selling his business to the bronze caster Pierre-Philippe Thomire. During his active years, Lignereux worked for the most influential collectors of the day, including the Duke d’Aumont-Valentinois, Queen Marie-Antoinette, the Count d’Artois (brother of King Louis XVI), the Baron de Breteuil, the Prince of Wales (future King George IV of England), Czar Paul I of Russia, and Napoleon Bonaparte.



    In the same category
    Le Riche  -  Sèvres
    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741-circa 1812)
    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    Exceptional Sèvres Bisque Porcelain Group

    “The Judgment of Sancho Panza, Governor of the Island of Barataria”

    APF_BISCUIT01_07

    After a Model by Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche

    Paris, second third of the 18th century, circa 1770-1780

    Height35.5 Width24.8 Depth21.5

    Bisque porcelain figures from the Sèvres Manufacture Royale are among the pieces most sought-after by collectors of antique porcelain and of art objects in general. By 1756 the factory had begun to produce unglazed porcelain pieces that were given just one firing. This new type of “bisque porcelain” became an immediate success with collectors of the period. Encouraged by this response, the Manufacture called on the best artists of the time to create new and novel pieces. Among them were the famous sculptors Etienne-Maurice Falconet, Louis-Simon Boizot and Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche, who supervised the workshops where the pieces were created and developed; all were of unusual and interesting design, and extremely well finished. The Sèvres factory hoped in this manner to set themselves apart from their main rival, the Meissen factory in Saxony, which produced polychrome pieces. Within just a few years Sèvres had surpassed Meissen in many areas, due in large part to these pristine white bisque statuettes and groups, whose satiny surfaces, reminiscent of statuary marble, perfectly rendered the delicate detailing of the sculpted models.

    The present group depicts a square terrace with simulated cobblestones, featuring an animated scene with several figures, both male and female. They have come to ask Sancho Panza, who is seated on a curule seat and is wearing a plumed hat, to render a judgment on their imaginary problems.

    Drawn from the satirical novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Cervantes (1547-1616), this spectacular group is one of the Royal Manufactory’s most ambitious creations. It is inspired by a design by painter Charles-Antoine Coypel that was intended for a tapestry. In 1771 Le Riche adapted it for the Sèvres Manufactory, for use in a porcelain surtout de table. Comprised of three groups, it was called “A Spanish Surtout relating the Story of Don Quixote”. The present group was one of the side pieces; the two other groups represented  “Don Quixote Fighting the Puppets” and “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head”.

    Very few examples of this ensemble have survived to the present day; one bisque group representing “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head” is preserved in the Sèvres Musée national de Céramique (Inv. MNC20546); a bisque porcelain group and the original terra cotta model of the present subject are also in the collection of the Sèvres Museum; these pieces are illustrated respectively in M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres des origines à nos jours, 1978, p. 230, fig. 316 and E. Bourgeois, Le biscuit de Sèvres, Paris, 1909, Tome II, plate 37.

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741 - circa 1812)

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche is a French sculptor of the 18th and early 19th centuries, he was the director of the sculpture studio at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory from 1780 to 1801.



    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    The Vincennes porcelain factory was created in 1740 under the patronage of Louis XV and the Marquise of Pompadour. It was created to rival with the Meissen porcelain factory, and became its principal European rival. In 1756 it was transferred to Sèvres, becoming the Royal Sèvres porcelain factory. Still active today, during the course of its existence it has had several periods of extraordinary creativity and has called on the finest French and European artisans. Kings and emperors considered it an exemplary showcase for French know-how. Most of the pieces created in the manufactory workshops were intended to be given as diplomatic gifts or to decorate the castles and royal palaces of the 18th and 19th centuries.



    Le Riche  -  Sèvres
    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741-circa 1812)
    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    Exceptional Sèvres Bisque Porcelain Group

    “Don Quixote Fighting the Puppets”

    APF_BISCUIT02_06

    After a Model by Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche

    Paris, second third of the 18th century, circa 1770-1780

    Height36 Width36 Depth33

    Bisque porcelain figures from the Royal Sèvres Manufactory are among the pieces most sought-after by collectors of antique porcelain and of art objects in general. By 1756 the factory had begun to produce unglazed porcelain pieces that were given just one firing. This new type of “bisque porcelain” became immediately popular with collectors of the period. Encouraged by this success, the Manufacture called on the best artists of the time to create new and novel pieces. Among them were the famous sculptors Etienne-Maurice Falconet, Louis-Simon Boizot and Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche, who supervised the workshops where the pieces were created and developed; all were of unusual and interesting design, and extremely well finished. The Sèvres factory hoped in this manner to set themselves apart from their main rival, the Meissen factory in Saxony, which produced polychrome pieces. Within just a few years Sèvres had surpassed Meissen in many areas, due in large part to these pristine white bisque statuettes and groups, whose satiny surfaces, reminiscent of statuary marble, perfectly rendered the delicate detailing of the sculpted models.

    The present group depicts an oval terrace where a battle is taking place: Don Quixote’s fight against Master Peter’s puppets. Human figures and animals display varying expressions and shades of emotion, in contrast with Don Quixote’s ardour as he destroys the puppet theatre and smashes the puppets with a hammer.

    Drawn from the satirical novel Don Quixote de la Mancha by Cervantes (1547-1616), this spectacular group is one of the Royal Manufactory’s most ambitious creations. It is inspired by a design by painter Charles-Antoine Coypel that was intended for a tapestry; in 1771 Le Riche adapted it for the Manufacture de Sèvres, for use as a porcelain surtout de table. Comprised of three groups, it was called “A Spanish Surtout relating the Story of Don Quixote”. The present group was the central one; on either side were groups representing “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head” and “The Judgment of Sancho Panza, Governor of the Island of Barataria”.

    Very few examples of this ensemble have survived to the present day;  one bisque  group representing “Don Quixote and the Enchanted Head” is preserved in the Sèvres Musée national de Céramique (Inv. MNC20546); a bisque porcelain group and the original terra cotta model of the present subject is also in the collection of the Sèvres Museum; these pieces are illustrated respectively in M. Brunet and T. Préaud, Sèvres des origines à nos jours, 1978, p. 230, fig. 316 and E. Bourgeois, Le biscuit de Sèvres, Paris, 1909, Tome II, plate 37.

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche (1741 - circa 1812)

    Josse-François-Joseph Le Riche is a French sculptor of the 18th and early 19th centuries, he was the director of the sculpture studio at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory from 1780 to 1801.



    Sèvres Royal Manufactory

    The Vincennes porcelain factory was created in 1740 under the patronage of Louis XV and the Marquise of Pompadour. It was created to rival with the Meissen porcelain factory, and became its principal European rival. In 1756 it was transferred to Sèvres, becoming the Royal Sèvres porcelain factory. Still active today, during the course of its existence it has had several periods of extraordinary creativity and has called on the finest French and European artisans. Kings and emperors considered it an exemplary showcase for French know-how. Most of the pieces created in the manufactory workshops were intended to be given as diplomatic gifts or to decorate the castles and royal palaces of the 18th and 19th centuries.



    Rémond  -  Daguerre
    François Rémond (circa 1747-1812)
    Dominique Daguerre

    Important Pair of Matte and Burnished Gilt and Patinated Bronze Neoclassical Four-Light Candelabra

    Candelabres029-07_BD_MAIL

    Attributed to François Rémond

    Probably made under the supervision of Dominique Daguerre

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height122 Width42

    The candelabra feature anthropomorphic stems depicting magnificent standing female figures made of patinated bronze. Their hair is braided and held in place by headbands; they wear long classical draperies that reveal their bodies. Each woman holds a wreath of flowers in one hand and has a wicker basket on her head. The baskets issue elaborate scrolling light bouquets comprising four lights; their ornate spiral-decorated branches are adorned with scrolls, rosettes, and seeds. The nozzles and drip pans are also finely cast and chased with leaves and foliage. The round terraces are decorated with beadwork and egg-and-dart friezes; they rest upon cylindrical blue turquin marble plinths that are adorned with friezes of volutes, ribbon-tied flower garlands, and putti flanking vases that are embellished with ribbon-tied bulrushes, alternating friezes of stylized foliage and a quadrangular base sculpted in the same marble.

    The exceptional chasing and gilding of the present pair of candelabra allow us to confidently attribute them to François Rémond, one of the most important Parisian bronziers of the period. At the time Rémond worked for Dominique Daguerre, then the most influential merchant of luxury goods in France. Their unusual design appears to have been influenced by a similar model that Rémond had created around 1785, of which the first pair were in the collection of Princess Kinsky, and were part of the furnishings of her luxurious Parisian mansion in the rue de Grenelle (see C. Baulez, “Le luminaire de la princesse Kinsky”, in L’Estampille/L’Objet d’art, n° 247, May 1991, p. 88), while a second pair was offered on the Parisian art market during the sale of the collection of Edwin-Marriott Hodgkins (1860-1932) (sold Me Lair-Dubreuil, May 16, 1927, lot 67).

    One further pair of candelabra, identical to the present pair but with white Carrara marble bases, were formerly in the collection of the Earls of Rosebery, Mentmore Towers, Buckinghamshire (Sale of the collections of the 6th Earl of Rosebery at Mentmore Towers, Sotheby’s, London, on May 18, 1977, lot 92); another identical pair, with blue turquin marble bases, is in the Toledo Museum of Art (Ohio) (illustrated in H. Ottomeyer and P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, Band I, Munich, 1986, p. 284, fig. 4.14.9).

    François Rémond (circa 1747 - 1812)

    Along with Pierre Gouthière, he was one of the most important Parisian chaser-gilders of the last third of the 18th century. He began his apprenticeship in 1763 and became a master chaser-gilder in 1774. His great talent quickly won him a wealthy clientele, including certain members of the Court. Through the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre, François Rémond was involved in furnishing the homes of most of the important collectors of the late 18th century, supplying them with exceptional clock cases, firedogs, and candelabra. These elegant and innovative pieces greatly contributed to his fame.



    Dominique Daguerre

    Dominique Daguerre is the most important marchand-mercier (i.e. merchant of luxury objects) of the last quarter of the 18th century. Little is known about the early years of his career; he appears to have begun to exercise his profession around 1772, the year he went into partnership with Philippe-Simon Poirier (1720-1785), the famous marchand-mercier who began using porcelain plaques from the Manufacture royale de Sèvres to adorn pieces of furniture. When Poirier retired around 1777-1778, Daguerre took over the shop in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, keeping the name “La Couronne d’Or”. He retained his predecessor’s clientele, and significantly increased the shop’s activity within just a few years. He played an important role in the renewal of the Parisian decorative arts, working with the finest cabinetmakers of the day, including Adam Weisweiler, Martin Carlin and Claude-Charles Saunier, cabinetmaker of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Georges Jacob, the bronziers and chaser-gilders Pierre-Philippe Thomire and François Rémond, and the clockmaker Renacle-Nicolas Sotiau. A visionary merchant who brought the level of French luxury goods to its highest point, Daguerre settled in England in the early 1780’s, having gone into partnership with Martin-Eloi Lignereux, who remained in charge of the Paris shop. In London, where he enjoyed the patronage of the Prince Regent (the future King George IV), Daguerre actively participated in the furnishing and decoration of Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion. Taking advantage of his extensive network of Parisian artisans, he imported most of the furniture, chairs, mantelpieces, bronze furnishings, and art objects from France, billing over 14500£, just for 1787. Impressed by Daguerre’s talent, several British aristocrats, called on his services as well. Count Spencer engaged him for the decoration of Althorp, where Daguerre worked alongside architect Henry Holland (1745-1806). In Paris, Daguerre and his partner Lignereux continued to supply influential connoisseurs and to deliver magnificent pieces of furniture to the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, which were placed in the apartments of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Daguerre retired in 1793, no doubt deeply affected by the French Revolution and the loss of many of his most important clients.



    Locré
    Locré Manufactory (1772-1824)

    Rare Pair of Blue and Gilt Bronze Porcelain candlesticks with Matte and Burnished Finishing

    Bougeoirs_012-02_HD_WEB

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Mark: two crossed blue torches under glaze

    Height20.8 Diamètre10.5

    The present pair of candlesticks, whose design is characteristic of the most elaborate neoclassical works of art produced during the reign of Louis XVI, is particularly elegant. Made of porcelain with a lapis lazuli blue ground and gold highlights, and adorned with finely chased gilt bronze mounts with matte and burnished finishing, the candlesticks have a cylindrical stem that is decorated with thin lines that suggest fluting, as well as wavy lines and dots. They are surmounted by drip pans in the form of vases on molded pedestals that are decorated with flower and leaf garlands and rest on round molded bases that are adorned with gold bands. The candlesticks are elaborately embellished with chased gilt bronze mounts including friezes of braids, beadwork, beribboned laurel leaf and seed toruses, as well as leaf garland swags that are held in place by rings with matted reserves. Further decorations include an acanthus leaf bouquet from which the vase appears to emerge, and a knurled embellishment on the edges of the drip pans.

    The remarkably sober design of the present rare pair of candlesticks exemplifies the maturity of an esthetic movement that began in Paris during the reign of Louis XV. It was encouraged by influential connoisseurs, artists, and artisans who were seeking a change from the artistic schemes and motifs that had until then dominated the French decorative arts, and which had been influenced by the Italian baroque style of the 17th century. The new decorative style was heavily influenced by the fabulous archaeological discoveries that had recently been made near Naples, and which had crystallized Europeans’ interest in the beauty and mysteries of Roman antiquity. In addition to its sober neoclassical design, the present pair of candlesticks is noteworthy for its juxtaposition of materials: porcelain and gilt bronze, in which – contrary to most contemporary creations – porcelain, rather than the metal, is the dominant material, the metal merely adding a further decorative highlight. Today only a few comparable candlesticks are known, including one model, which was not completed and is shown in a project for a bronze and porcelain mantel garniture made by the Manufacture de la Reine; sold by the merchant Granchez toward the middle of the 1780s, it is now in the French Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris (see the exhibition catalogue La Fabrique du luxe, Les marchands merciers parisiens au XVIIIe siècle, Musée Cognacq-Jay, Paris, 2018, p. 110-111). A second example, in which the twisted stem is adorned with delicate garlands of flowers (illustrated in M. Burckhardt, Mobilier Régence Louis XV, Paris, Editions Charles Massin, Paris, p. 66) was made by the Royal Sèvres factory.

    Locré Manufactory (1772 - 1824)

    The Locré Manufactory (active 1772-1824) is one of the most important Parisian factories of the last third of the 18th century and the final decades of the following century. Located in the rue Fontaine-au-Roi in Paris, the factory was founded in the early 1770s by Jean-Baptiste Locré. Several years later Locré went into partnership with Laurent Russinger, a porcelain maker and a sculptor, who became the director of the factory until the late 18th century. The factory, which soon became known for the exceptional quality and originality of his work, was one of the main rivals of the Royal Sèvres Manufactory.



    In the same category
    Rémond  -  Daguerre  -  Falconet
    François Rémond (circa 1747-1812)
    Etienne-Maurice Falconet (1716-1791)
    Dominique Daguerre

    Important Pair of Gilt and Patinated Bronze and Blue Turquin Marble Five-Light Candelabra

    Candelabres021-05_BD_MAIL

    Attributed to François Rémond

    Made under the supervision of Dominique Daguerre

    The groups after Etienne-Maurice Falconet

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1785

    Height99 Width43 Depth29.5

    Provenance:

    – Collection of Prince Marc de Beauvau-Craon (1816-1883) in the Grand Salon of his Parisian mansion in Avenue Montaigne: “Two candelabra with bronzed figures, model known as ‘Garde-à-vous’, on blue turquin marble bases, with five light branches, in gilt bronze, 18,000 francs”.

    – By descent, collection of the Princes de Beauvau-Craon in the Château d’Haroué.

     

    Made entirely of finely chased matte and burnished gilt and patinated bronze, each candelabrum is adorned with an allegorical group depicting a young girl sitting on a mound and holding a bow on her right side. She is an allegory of Innocence. The other figure is a winged putto who is also seated and holds his right index finger to his lips; he is an allegory of menacing Love. Behind each figure the light bouquet emerges from leaves that issue from a torch stem with straight and spiral fluting. The stem, to which are attached the five curved light branches in two staggered rows, terminates in a flame motif. The light branches, which are decorated with fluting and spirals, feature molded rings and are adorned with scrolls centered by rosettes. They bear the gadrooned nozzles and drip pans adorned with bead friezes. The candelabra rest on tall quadrangular blue turquin marble bases with rounded fronts that are embellished with fluting and leaves, and feature high reliefs scenes in the manner of the Parisian sculptor Clodion, which depict winged children playing among the clouds.

    Peter Hugues and Christian Baulez have confidently attributed the unusual design of this important pair of candelabra to the chaser-gilder François Rémond, based on the design of the light branches, which is characteristic of Remond’s work. Dated 1785 by Hugues and Baulez, specialists of 18th century French decorative arts, they are reminiscent of patinated bronze groups directly inspired by two works by the sculptor Etienne-Maurice Falconet. A marble group with a winged putto was ordered in 1755, and exhibited at the Salon two years later: “130 A marble figure that depicts a Cupid. It belongs to Madame the Marquise of Pompadour”; the plaster model of Innocence, never executed in marble, was exhibited at the 1761 Salon. These two groups became an immense success among influential Parisian art lovers, and were widely disseminated in bisque porcelain by the Sèvres and Wedgwood porcelain factories.

    Today only a small number of similar pairs of candelabra are known. Among them, one pair was sold at the Daguerre sale at Christie’s, London, on March 25, 1791. Two pairs were no doubt delivered by Daguerre when he was in England: one was delivered to the 1st Count of Harewood or to Viscount Lascelles for Harewood House, Yorkshire, the other to Orlando Bridgeman, 1st Count of Bradford for Weston Park, Shropshire. A fourth, formerly in the collection of the Count of Essex in Cassiobury Park, was sold at Christie’s, London, on June 12, 1922, lot 283. A fifth pair, probably purchased in Paris around 1785 by Count Alexander Stroganoff, was offered at auction when the collections of the Stroganoff counts were sold after the Russian Revolution (sold Galerie Lepke, Berlin, May 12-13, 1931, lots 156-157), then at the sale of the Riahi collection in 2000. One further such pair, formerly in the collection of William Beckford, is now on display in the Wallace Collection in London (illustrated in P. Hugues, The Wallace Collection, Catalogue of Furniture, London, 1996, Volume III, n° 251, F140-141).

    François Rémond (circa 1747 - 1812)

    Along with Pierre Gouthière, he was one of the most important Parisian chaser-gilders of the last third of the 18th century. He began his apprenticeship in 1763 and became a master chaser-gilder in 1774. His great talent quickly won him a wealthy clientele, including certain members of the Court. Through the marchand-mercier Dominique Daguerre, François Rémond was involved in furnishing the homes of most of the important collectors of the late 18th century, supplying them with exceptional clock cases, firedogs, and candelabra. These elegant and innovative pieces greatly contributed to his fame.



    Etienne-Maurice Falconet (1716 - 1791)

    Etienne-Maurice Falconet is a French sculptor born to a poor family, he initially studied carpentry, but his talent was soon discovered by the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, who took the boy under his wing. Falconet’s work was noticed by the Marquise de Pompadour, who commissioned several works from him.

    From 1757 to 1766, he was the director of the sculpture workshops at the Sèvres Porcelain Manufactory. There he was instrumental in the success of Sèvres bisque porcelain, which is deliberately left in bisque form, that is, without any glaze or decoration.

    In 1754 Falconet became a member of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture. In 1766 he travelled to Saint-Petersburg where Catherine the Great had him work on the equestrian statue of Peter the Great. Back in France, he was named rector of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture. He created many masterpieces: Moses and David, for the Saint-Roch church in Paris, Pygmalion, Alexander, Winter, Melancholy, and Menacing Love, one of his most famous works, which was produced in bisque by the Sèvres Manufactory.



    Dominique Daguerre

    Dominique Daguerre is the most important marchand-mercier (i.e. merchant of luxury objects) of the last quarter of the 18th century. Little is known about the early years of his career; he appears to have begun to exercise his profession around 1772, the year he went into partnership with Philippe-Simon Poirier (1720-1785), the famous marchand-mercier who began using porcelain plaques from the Manufacture royale de Sèvres to adorn pieces of furniture. When Poirier retired around 1777-1778, Daguerre took over the shop in the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, keeping the name “La Couronne d’Or”. He retained his predecessor’s clientele, and significantly increased the shop’s activity within just a few years. He played an important role in the renewal of the Parisian decorative arts, working with the finest cabinetmakers of the day, including Adam Weisweiler, Martin Carlin and Claude-Charles Saunier, cabinetmaker of the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, Georges Jacob, the bronziers and chaser-gilders Pierre-Philippe Thomire and François Rémond, and the clockmaker Renacle-Nicolas Sotiau. A visionary merchant who brought the level of French luxury goods to its highest point, Daguerre settled in England in the early 1780’s, having gone into partnership with Martin-Eloi Lignereux, who remained in charge of the Paris shop. In London, where he enjoyed the patronage of the Prince Regent (the future King George IV), Daguerre actively participated in the furnishing and decoration of Carlton House and the Brighton Pavilion. Taking advantage of his extensive network of Parisian artisans, he imported most of the furniture, chairs, mantelpieces, bronze furnishings, and art objects from France, billing over 14500£, just for 1787. Impressed by Daguerre’s talent, several British aristocrats, called on his services as well. Count Spencer engaged him for the decoration of Althorp, where Daguerre worked alongside architect Henry Holland (1745-1806). In Paris, Daguerre and his partner Lignereux continued to supply influential connoisseurs and to deliver magnificent pieces of furniture to the Garde-Meuble de la Couronne, which were placed in the apartments of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. Daguerre retired in 1793, no doubt deeply affected by the French Revolution and the loss of many of his most important clients.



    Gouthière
    Pierre Gouthière (1732-1813)

    Exceptional Pair of Matte and Burnished Gilt Bronze and Gray Vosges Granite Four-Light Candelabra Vases

    “The Pineapples”

    Candelabres020-04_HD_PRESSE

    Attributed to Pierre Gouthière

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1780

    Height85

    Provenance:

    – Formerly in the collection of the fermier général Laurent Grimod de la Reynière (1734-1793); it stood in the “central lighted Salon looking out onto the terrace” of his Parisian mansion in the rue Boissy-d’Anglas, which was built in 1775 by the architect Jean-Benoît-Vincent Barré.

     

    The present truncated oval-form vases are made from a block of sculpted and polished green Vosges granite. Each vase features a neck and a molded pedestal adorned with a plain ring and torus; each is elaborately decorated with finely chased and gilt bronze mounts with matte and burnished finishing. The bellies of the vases are adorned with swags of graduated beads suspended from roundels. The light branches issue from bouquets of stiff pineapple leaves from which emerge stems bearing curved leaves, which terminate in pineapple fruits that serve as drip pans. From the base of these stems issue three further arabesque-form branches that are embellished with acanthus leaves and seeds, and beaded rings that terminate in corollas supporting the nozzles and drip pans. The quadrangular bases, with concave molding, stand on square plinths that are adorned with reserves set against matted grounds.

    The present candelabra vases bear witness to the fashion for exoticism that reigned among contemporary Parisian collectors, and rank among the most remarkable examples of the Parisian decorative arts during the second half of the 18th century. Several factors, including their remarkable design, the exceptional quality of their chasing and gilding, and the high rank of their commissioner and owner, combine to make them highly desirable works of art. They are also noteworthy for the glimpse they afford into the special relationship that existed between influential Parisian collectors and the exceptional artisans who supplied them with fine objets d’art. In the present case, the artisan is Pierre Gouthière, to whom we attribute the vases. Commissioned during the reign of Louis XVI by the fermier général Laurent Grimod de la Reynière, one of the most important collectors of his time, they stand out due to their near unique status, for only one other identical pair of candelabra vases is known to exist; it was also commissioned by Grimod de la Reynière. The fact that only two such pairs of vases were produced during the 18th century, and that both belonged to Grimod de la Reynière, sheds light on a type of creative process that very rarely seen in the bronze furnishings of the period: works produced to order. That practice, which guaranteed the uniqueness of the works made, led to much higher production costs. It required the execution of preparatory drawings, which were then validated by the client. Afterwards, models were made, usually of wood or wax, molds were created for casting the various bronze parts, and lastly, the agreement between the artisan who was making the piece and the client who was commissioning it, was finalized, thus insuring the commissioner of the privilege of receiving a masterpiece that no one else could boast of owning.

    Thus, we discovered the provenance of the two pairs of candelabra vases – they belonged to fermier general Grimod de la Reynière. That provenance was further supported by the study of the probate inventory of Grimod de la Reynière, which was drawn up in his Parisian mansion beginning on the 22 germinal of the year IV of the Republic (11 April 1796).

    Indeed, right after the inventory describing the more common pieces contained in the mansion, including the “ordinary” pieces of furniture, another list was drawn up to describe the most luxurious and costly pieces.

    “Here follows the inventory of the paintings, precious pieces of furniture, marble statues and vases, tables, columns made of porphyry and granite, vases and other porcelain objects, snuffboxes, rings, and precious jewelry, curious objects made of agate, lapis, and other materials, single engravings and volumes of engravings, and other art objects and curiosities of all sorts. They will be examined and their value estimated by the said citizens Baudouin and Boileau, following the advice of the citizens Alexandre Joseph Paillet, a painter living in Clichy La Garenne near Paris and André Coquille, a merchant living in Paris rue and section of the Butte des Moulin, who were present in order to give their opinions in good conscience”.

    “In the central, lighted Salon overlooking the Terrace” the objects described were as follows:

    Item two green Vosges granite vases with three-light girandoles of the arabesque type and gilt ormolu copper pineapple stems, together two hundred forty livres 240”. This sentence refers to the present pair of vases.

    Further on in the inventory, “In the apartment occupied by the Citizen widow Grimod on the ground floor, to the left of the main building”:

    And described “In a lighted Salon de compagnie looking out onto the garden, making up the first room of said apartment”:

    “Item one fireplace grate made up of two parts, in polished iron, adorned with two lions on the front, on small bases, made in chased and gilt copper, shovel, tongs, and iron pincers with copper handles, a pair of girandoles made up of robust vases in gray Vosges granite, fitted with three arabesque branches, bearing three drip pans and a fourth branch on a pineapple, all made of chased and gilt copper, valued together at three hundred sixty livres 360”. That text refers to the second known example of this model.

    Although after that date we lose track of the vases, the second pair, made of gray granite, is better documented. Slightly more than a year after the probate inventory, an auction of the former collections of the fermier général was held in Paris. The number 142 was described as follows: “A pair of mantel girandoles, with three arabesque branches, with stem and pineapple leaves in the upper portion; all in chased and matte gilt copper: they are set in vases made of gray Vosges granite, in the form of truncated ovals, with necks and pedestals. Height 30 pouces”; that is the description of the candelabra that stood in the home of the collector’s widow. Some twenty years later, on April 27, 1818, those candelabra were again offered at auction, at a sale organized by the Parisian merchant Nicolas Lerouge: “94. Two vases in gray Vosges granite, with three-branch girandoles, which are surmounted by  pineapples, very elaborately chased and remarkably gilt”. They were recently offered on the Paris art market when five masterpieces from the Qizilbash collection were sold (Christie’s, Paris, December 19, 2007, lot 804).

    Pierre Gouthière (1732 - 1813)

    Pierre Gouthière was without a doubt the most talented Parisian chaser of his time. Enjoying the patronage of the Duke d’Aumont, one of the most important collectors of the second half of the 18th century, in 1767 Gouthière received became a “doreur ordinaire des Menus Plaisirs du Roi”, the royal administration that was in charge of the King’s private commissions to artists and artisans. This nomination earned him great fame and allowed him to acquire a prestigious clientele made up of connoisseurs of fine and rare objects, including the Royal family, the Duke d’Aumont, important aristocrats such as the Marquise of Pompadour’s brother the Marquis de Marigny, Princess Kinsky, the Countess Du Barry, the Duchess  of Mazarin, the Duke of Duras, the Duchess of Villeroy, and important financiers, particularly Baudard de Saint-James, the wealthy Treasurer General of the French Marine, and the banker Thélusson.



    Pair of Three-Light Gilt Bronze Wall Lights

    APF_Appliques004_03

    Paris, Louis XVI period, circa 1775

    Height64 Width48.5

    Provenance:

    A private Parisian hôtel particulier.

     

    A magnificent pair of gilt bronze three-light wall-lights, each surmounted by a flaming vase, suspended from ring handles by ribbon-ties, above three acanthus-wrapped fluted scroll branches terminated by vase-shaped nozzles above circular foliate cast drip-pans, the acanthus wrapped back plate above a foliate and berried boss.

    These elegant wall lights combine elements inspired by the “goût grec”, a style that prevailed during the late 1760’s and early 1770’s with elements influenced by the slightly later “goût étrusque”, an artistic style that was fashionable from circa 1775 until the collapse of the Ancien Régime. The first style may be seen in the vase-shaped nozzles; the second one is evident in the naturalistic and symmetrically aligned acanthus scrolls.

    A similar pair of wall lights were included in the David Keck Collection sale held by Sotheby’s New York, 5th-6th December 1991, lot. 217. Another similar wall light, with a goat’s head on the back plate, dating from circa 1775, is illustrated in Hans Ottomeyer and Peter Pröschel, “Vergoldete Bronzen”, 1986, p. 231, pl. 4.1.4. The writers cite another pair of similar wall lights in the Château de Versailles.