Christofle will be the presenting partner for Sotheby’s New York Decorative Arts online auction and exhibition. Select Christofle pieces will be featured for sale on sothebys.com, with a corresponding exhibition in the Sotheby’s New York galleries from October 15-19.
The French art of living is reflected in Maison Christofle. Christofle crafts elegance – the setting of a table, decorating a home, and the celebration of timelessness and family traditions. Beginning in 1830, Charles Christophle operated a silver factory and in 1942, he bought the rights to chemist Count de Roulez’s process of gilding and silvering of metals. Roulez was hired as an engineer and together the Christofle brand was born – cutting edge for the time, the quality crafting was never-before-seen. Christofle’s manufacturing of elegance was so loved by nobility that it was a favorite of King Louis-Philippe and in 1850, it was chosen by Emperor Napoleon III to equip the dining rooms and decorate the greatest palaces of Europe.
To this day Christofle still uses handmade embossing, carving and engraving. The craftmanship legacy, from teacher to student, is what makes Christofle a heritage company – celebrating the five universes: joining together for a meal, talking over drinks around the bar, adding beauty to a home through decoration, gifting jewelry and accessories, and enjoying moments with children.
The commitment to quality and the pursuit of elegance is evident in pieces such as the Heritage Courge Tea Service. This 5-piece set was created in 1891 for the Paris Women’s Arts Exhibition and showcases the squash motif widely employed in Asian decorative arts and the beginning of the Art Nouveau era.
Other examples of timeless pieces include the Sakura of Yoshino. This egg-shaped work depicts the Yoshino cherry blossom that covers Mt. Yoshino in Nara, a signature representation of Japan. The flowers include pink shading, different amounts of sprinkled gold and silver powder, petals that seems to float surrounding the black lacquer on the top of the case, and brightly colored blossoms are drawn in contrast to the red at the bottom, presenting a varied range of expression of cherry blossoms in a single work. The cutlery has gold and silver cherry blossoms on vermillion to purposely give it a relaxed expression.
Today, the age-old tradition of Christofle is enlivened by the dynamism of a young and active staff. This is evident in their works, such as The Arabian Horse which although classic, showcases a modern approach to luxury. This decorative piece pays tribute to the Arab Thoroughbred, which is one of the most ancient middle eastern horse breeds. It is celebrated for its endurance and liveliness. From timeless to modern – the romance of French Living is evident in each Christofle piece and includes something for every collector.