Cabinet-maker and bronze caster
Magnificent Louis XV Style Flat Desk
Signed « A.-E. Beurdeley »
Height: 78,5 cm (30,9 in.); Length: 144 cm (56,6 in.); Depth: 79,5 cm (31,2 in.)
Exceptional kingwood and satinwood veneer double-sided desk, opening with three frieze drawers. Mounted with remarquable chiseled ormolu representing shells, foliage and flower garlands, this desk is representative of French taste. It is by his quality one of the most beautiful examples of A.E. Beurdeley’s manufacturing prowess.
This flat desk is inspired by the one executed by the cabinet-maker Joseph Baumhauer, which was offered by King Louis XV to Empress Elisabeth I of Russia in 1745. It is now exhibited in the Los Angeles Getty Center.
In 1875, Alfred-Emmanuel Beurdeley (1847-1919) was at first assistant to and later succeeded his father Louis-Auguste Beurdeley, one of the main cabinet-makers of the Second Empire, specialising in 18th century furniture. Louis-Auguste was the star whenever he exhibited and was “most favoured by the royal and imperial families”. Although he produced the same kind of works of art as his father, Alfred Beurdeley was also a very well-known art collector and a skilled bronze sculptor. With Dasson, Grohé, Sauvresy and Fourdinois, the most famous artists of the period, he took part in the 1878 Universal Exhibition and won the gold medal. Crowned with glory he went so far as to open a shop in New York. His participation in the 1883 Amsterdam Universal Exhibition drew considerable attention to his work and “Alfred Beurdeley, Fabricant de bronzes d’art” was then awarded the Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest official mark of recognition. He thus won the respect of both the government and contemporary art critics. His last presentation was during the 1889 Universal and International Exhibition, when the director of the Exhibition wrote in his report: “The talent of Mr Beurdeley is self evident when one inspects his furniture.”