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Ref. 528/24

G. GROHE

Cabinet-maker
(1808-1885)

Magnificent bookcase

France
Circa 1860
Height: 330 cm (129,9 in.) ; Width: 300 cm (118,1 in.) ; Depth: 80 cm (31,5 in.)

Exceptional neo Renaissance bookcase forming desk in birds-eye carved mahogany. This monumental piece consists in a lower part forming drop-front desk supported by two pillars with drawers. The lateral parts each open with a moulded door.  The bookcase occupies the upper part, opening by four windows separated by carved semi-columns finishing in Corinthian capitals. The whole is surmounted by a large pediment adorned with chimera and a female head. The ornaments is inspired by the Renaissance and consists mostly in carved foliate, chimera, griffins and  phantasmagorical masks, what makes this piece not only a masterpiece of architecture, but also of sculpture.

Biography

Guillaume Grohé (1808-1885) born in the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt came to settle in Paris in 1827. With his brother Jean-Michel, he run a successful company named “Grohé Brothers” featuring furniture and objects of art, and presenting successfully works at the Exhibition of the Products of Industry in 1834. His success was as well as fast as substantial. Guillaume received the Legion of Honour in 1849 and was later promoted to officer of that order. In 1861, his brother retired from business, leaving Guillaume alone at the head of the company. With no successor, the company ceased trading in 1884. Supplier of King Louis XVIII (Louis XIV style console, National Exhibition of 1844, a Renaissance style Ebony museum cabinet, 1844), King Louis-Philippe, the Emperor Napoleon III (mahogany dining room, Palace Saint-Cloud, 1855; mahogany furniture, Compiègne Palace, Renaissance style mahogany furniture at the Palace of Fontainebleau, 1859), and after 1862, he supplied Queen Victoria. Specialized in the making of furniture of various styles, the Duke of Aumale commissioned him the furniture of the castle of Chantilly. He took part brilliantly and was also several times member of the jury at the Universal Exhibitions. According to the report of the jury for the 1878 Paris Universal Exhibition, Grohé is described, as “the undisputed master of the modern cabinet-making, was exhausted in respect of all forms of praise, as he won all the series of rewards.” Maxime Boucheron last quoted in an article in Le Figaro in 1884 that “Grohé was a true grand master of the art of the nineteenth century cabinetmaking. A career of over fifty years has filled our museums, our national palace with incomparable masterpieces. He assured the dominance of French taste in luxury furniture.

Bibliography

Les ébénistes du XIXe siècle, Denise Ledoux-Lebard, Ed. de l’Amateur, 1984, p. 237.

This exceptional piece was sold when the Grohé factory completely stopped its production, in 1884, in Paris.

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