Japanese style cabinet
Signed G Viardot
Tinted alder, Ivory, Mother-of-pearl, Lacquer
Height : 240 cm (94,5 in.) ; Width : 225 cm (88,5 in.) ; Depth : 48 cm (18,9 in.)
Important Japanese style cabinet in carved tinted alder decorated with foliage, flowers and geometric friezes imitating bamboo.
It opens in the upper part with two doors forming a showcase and a door made of an important Japanese Meiji period panel encrusted with mother-of-pearl, lacquer and ivory representing a set of characters in traditional costumes, and in the center a harnessed elephant, all surrounded by a frieze of cherry blossom branches and birds of paradise.
In its lower part, it opens with three carved doors with Japanese motifs inlaid with ivory and mother-of-pearl flowers.
Sliding Greek patterned tablets separate the two parts of the cabinet. Topped with a richly ornamented pediment and an openwork niche, it rests on six sculpted feet.
Gabriel Viardot career began as a wood carver and he produced small furniture, sculpturally carved with naturalistic motifs and animals. In the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris, his finely sculpted objects were well received. However, with the increasing importation of similarly produced Swiss and German articles, he found less opportunity for these and decided to inovate. G. Viardot succeded to his father’s business in 1861 installed rue Rambuteau in Paris. Around 1870 he turned to the idea of producing « Meubles genre Chinois et Japonais ». The taste in Europe for exotic furniture, incorporating sometimes authentic Chinese or Japanese objects was well established. But Viardot early designed his own models enriched with ivory, mother-of-pearl and beautiful gilt-bronze mounts. After having won four medals at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1867, Viardot was awarded a silver medal at the 1878 Universal Exhibition in Paris. He was also awarded gold medals several times : Universal Exhibitions in Anvers (Belgium) in 1884, and again in Paris in 1889 and 1900. A contemporary commentator notes that he had a workshop employing approximately 100 men, both sculptors and cabinet-makers with another 25 to 30 outside contract workers. « L’Escalier de Cristal », the famous Parisian offering luxurious furniture got the exclusivity to use their own stamp on six Viardot’s furniture models.
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