Japanese style Lamp
Japan – France
Enamel porcelain, Gilded bronze
Height with lampshade : 133 cm (52,3 in.) / without lampshade : 125 cm (49,2 in.) ;
Diameter : 86 cm (33,8 in.)
Important Japanese style gourd-shaped lamp, made with a polychrome Kutani porcelain vase decorated with lake scene and flowers in cartouches, in the middle of flying waders on a red background. It is covered with a beige pleated silk lampshade, embroided with flowers and waders. It rests on an « old gold » patinated bronze base with stylized openwork decoration, topped with a Fô dog on each foot.
Japanese enamel porcelain vase in a Japanese style mount by Edouard Lièvre, circa 1875.
Reproduced in Connaissance des arts Edouard Lièvre, H.S. n°228, p.8.
Edouard Lièvre (1829-1886) studied under the painter Thomas Couture (1815-1879), one of the more conspicuous artists in the circle of the Empress Eugenie. E. Lièvre soon devoted himself, however, to the art of furniture design. A talented ornamentalist, marked by the eclecticism typical of the Second Empire, Lièvre knew how to avail himself of skillful collaborators in order to create pieces in various styles: Renaissance, Louis 16th or Oriental, which last were part of the great artistic movement in fashion since the 1860’s: the Japanese style named also Aesthetic Movement. they recreated an imaginary Far East adapted to decorate Western reception rooms. As an Interior decorator Lièvre also matched his luxurious and refined furniture with bronzes, ceramics and even fabrics. This Oriental exoticism, which only the richest could afford, appealed to bankers, judges, artists and famous courtesans as well as the Royal and Princely families. After the death of Edouard Lièvre, the greater part of his models, sketches and cabinet designs were bought by art publishers such as « l’Escalier de Cristal » or by Ferdinand Barbedienne, thus giving them the right to reproduce Lièvre’s furniture with their own stamp (see « Ventes de la succession Lièvre », Hotel Drouot, 27 fevrier 1890).
Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892), the most important caster of bronze pieces of art during the second half of the 19th Century, created and directed one of the principle artistic foundries of his day. Their illustrated catalogues included many diverse objects such as busts, ornemental sculpture (clocks, candelabras, chandeliers) sometimes even life-sized and also bronzes for furniture. Apart from his own production, Barbedienne worked for the most renowned sculptors such as Barrias, Bosio, Clésinger and Carrier-Belleuse. At the London exhibition in 1851 Barbedienne’s firm won two « Council medals ». At the 1855 Universal Exhibition, he won a medal of honor and eleven cooperator’s medals for the work of his co-workers. The success of Barbedienne’s firm brought him many official commissions, such in about 1860, as Barbedienne supplied bronzes for furniture for the Pompeian Villa of Prince Napoleon, located avenue Montaigne in Paris. At the 1867 Universal Exhibition in his capacity as member of and speaker for the Jury, he was non-contestant, but exhibited nevertheless with great success some of his great pieces. Barbedienne was made an officer of the Légion d’Honneur in 1867 and Commander in 1878 when he was compared with « a prince of industry and the king of bronze casting ». His glory did not decline with the passage of the time for at the Universal Exhibition of 1889 the critics thanked Barbedienne for the example he set for other bronze-casters by the perfection of his bronzes.
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