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G. Servant

Bronze-caster

(1828-c.1890)

attributed to

Pair of neo-Egyptian candelabras

France

Circa 1870

Height : 42 cm (16 1/2 in.) ; Width : 19 cm (7 1/2 in.)

Rare pair of Egyptian style candelabras made in two patina bronze. Cast in form of an antique vase surmounted by three leaned ibis birds, each topped by a light nozzle. Decorated with lotus flower, winged beetles and rosettes. The central fourth light arm is topped by a falcon shaped extinguisher.

Egyptian style, much in fashion since Napoleon Ist time and his famous military campaigns led in Egypt as soon as 1799, was then rediscovered in France in 1860’s. Several French renowned artists, such the cabinet-maker Grohé, sculptors and bronze-casters Denière, Hébert and Servant, executed especially for the Universal Exhibitions held in Paris in 1867 and 1878, Egyptian style art pieces, which were presented on their luxurious stands. Most of them took inspiration from antique Egyptian artefacts displayed in the Louvre museum. One could admire for instance at the 1867 Universal Exhibition a beautiful vitrine made by the silversmith-jeweller Baugrand. All their exhibits drew much attention and then commissions from a wealthy attendance, among them the royal family. All those decorative objects and furniture, made in France, were quickly sold everywhere throughout Europe and abroad. The famous New York Tiffany store proposed thus his clientele neo-Egyptian clocks and candelabras.

Biography

Georges Emile Henri Servant (1828-c.1890), who took over his father in 1855 at their foundry, rue Vieille-du-Temple, in Paris, specialized in the production of neo-Egyptian style clocks, very popular in France since 1860’s, and also the making of Greek style decorative objects. He drew considerable attention to the high quality of his bronzes at the 1855 Paris Universal Exhibition and then at the 1862 London Exhibition. At this time Servant exported up to 40% of his production, principally to the United States, where for instance, his clocks were sold with great success by Louis Tiffany Inc. or Hamann & Roche of New York. But his success came really at the 1867 Paris Universal Exhibition, where he was awarded a gold medal for his neo-Greek and Egyptian works (Les Merveilles de l’Exposition Universelle de 1867, t. II, p° 165 & 167). He was even awarded in 1874 the « Ordre national de la Légion d’Honneur », France’s hightest official mark of recognition. Servant participated once again successfully at the 1878 Paris Universal Exhibition, where he not only exhibited vases and small bronze pieces of furniture, but was also a member of the jury for the class of bronze pieces of art. He finally retired shortly before the 1889 Paris Universal Exhibition.

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