Eugène Cornu

The sculptor Eugène Cornu (1827-1899), installed in Paris at N.29 rue Popincourt, after having worked as a designer and then director for the renowned company Tahan, worked closely with the « Compagnie des Marbres Onyx d’Algérie », led by Gustave Viot, successor of Alphonse Pallu, at N.24 boulevard des Italiens. They produced luxurious furniture and art objects, incorporating onyx marble and bronze, with sometimes enamel, a combination then considered as a novelty and become quickly highly prized among wealthy collectors. They both showed at the 1867 Universal Exhibition held in Paris a fine pair of onyx, bronze and enamel vases (signed « G. Viot et Cie, Exposition de 1867, Eugène Cornu Inventeur » ; Catalogue Officiel de l’Exposition, groupe III, classe XIV, « meubles de luxe », n°65) for which Cornu and Viot won the Gold Medal (Rapports du Jury International, Exposition Universelle de 1867 à Paris, 1868, t. III, groupe III, classe XV, chapître II, § 2, p°45 & 46). Around 1873, Eugène Cornu became director of the Company, which took then the name of « Société des Onyx d’Algérie E. Cornu et Cie ». The name of this company refering to the quarries of onyx the firm exploited near Oran, Algeria, remained opened until the begining of the 20th century.