I n June, Sotheby’s Paris will present Important Mobilier, Objets d’art et Orfèvrerie, a limited selection of pieces by the period’s greatest masters, such as a Chinese lacquer Louis XV commode by Dubois, a fine pair of cabinets from the André-Charles Boulle revival’s in the late 18th century, works of Nicolas Heurtaut and Pierre-Philippe Thomire, and very elaborated cabinet by Edouard Lièvre inspired by Japan at the end of the 19th century. The auction will also feature the finest provenances, such as a pair of chairs destined for the cabinet intérieur of King Louis XVI at Fontainebleau, an attractive set of Louis XVI seat furniture from Chanteloup which remains in its original condition. Several works of art in silver, gilt-bronze and precious materials will complete this sale dedicated to the decorative arts.
Among the gold-smithed pieces are a large vermeil ewer and basin, probably Sicilian, circa 1595, with an appliqué of the arms of the four most powerful families in Malta and a silver-and-vermeil lion on its base, stamped with what is probably the Lünebourg hallmark circa 1650. A set of 10 Dutch candlesticks with the Amsterdam hallmark, 1804-1805 by Hinnick Pape is presented alongside a surprising tankard from the Baltic countries, circa 1680, which stands on bird-shaped feet, and a large votive chapel in gilded wood and silver which bears the Nicolas de Martinez hallmark, Malta, circa 1760. Among the French pieces, collectors will be particularly interested in a pair of candlesticks with the hallmark of Louis II Samson, Toulouse, 1774-1775, and a large caster engraved with the Boniol family arms by Jean Navier, Perpignan, circa 1725.
Three lots in the Important Mobilier, Objets d’art et Orfèvrerie sale have prestigious provenance. Louis XVI was very fond of Fontainebleau, spending his days hunting in the game-rich forests around. He commissioned for his interior cabinet the pair of giltwood chairs, attributed to Jean Boulard, circa 1786 (lot 52). A giltwood seat furniture (lot 49) has been commissioned by the Duke of Penthièvre for the castle of Chanteloup he bought in 1785 from the Duke of Choiseul, Louis XV prime minister. The Duke of Penthièvre was one of the wealthiest aristocrats of the late 18th century and a cousin to the King. His grandson is Louis-Philippe d’Orléans (1773-1850) who became king of France in 1830. Louis-Philippe inherited the Château d’Eu from his mother where the eighteen-light chandelier (lot 60) were exhibited.
Aristote Onassis's Taste For Unique Furniture
One of the wealthiest men in the world after World Word II, Greek shipowner Aristotle Onassis decorated his fabulous yacht called “Christina O” with the best quality furniture. Lot 27, a gilt-bronze mounted Chinese lacquer and Parisian lacquer commode stamped by Jacques Dubois, took place in the main living room of the ship, visible to the famous guests Onassis invited such as Winston Churchill, Elizabeth Taylor and Frank Sinatra.
Japonism is a fascinating artistic movement which invaded Europe circa 1870 when Emperor Meiji opened its frontiers to the West. Japanese works of art, engravings, new motives inspired artists to create a new vocabulary mixing Europe objects with Japanese taste. Our armoire-vitrine, made by Edouard Lièvre is a typical example of this new fashion. The apogee of this movement will take place in the 1880s-1890s with major painters like Paul Gaugin and Pierre Bonnard.