Pair of “cloisonné” enamel bronze vases
Height : 32 cm (12 2/3 in.) ; Diameter : 17 cm (6 2/3 in.)
Pair of Japanese-style roll-shaped vases, made in “cloisonné” enamel and gilded bronze. The cylindrical body is decorated with polychrom floral branches, flowers and butterflies on a blue background. The mounts made in pierced and “old gold” patinated bronze forming the neck, the handles and the bases, are ornated with stylized clouds and animal heads. They are quite characteristic of the Japanese-style creations made by Ferdinand Barbedienne in the second half of the 19th century.
For those works, Ferdinand Barbedienne produced either his own enamels described as “émaux opaques, cloisonnés et affleurés à la manière des anciens” in his sale catalogs, or he simply bought Chinese “cloisonné” enamels imported to France, then mounted within his ormolu bronzes.
Born in 1810, Ferdinand Barbedienne started at n°30 boulevard Poissonnière in Paris one of the most famous 19th century artistic bronze casting companies. He died in 1892. In addition to his personal production, he worked for famous artists such as Auguste Clésinger (1814-1883), Albert-Ernest Carrier-Belleuse (1824-1887) and Louis Barrias (1841-1905 At the London Universal Exhibition of 1862 Barbedienne exhibited some « cloisonné » enamel works, which were for most of them designed by Constant Sévin, and won medals in three different categories : Furniture, Silversmith work and Artistic bronzes, combining for some pieces with enamels (Oriental style cup, Château de Compiègne, Inv. C 71-122). Barbedienne’s production was always highly esteemed and he was, himself admired by contemporary art critics who compared him during the 1878 Universal Exhibition to a « prince of industry and the king of bronze-casting ».