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J. E. ZWIENER

Cabinet-Maker
(active  from 1880 to 1895)

Louis XV style Side-board Console

France
Circa 1885

Height : 100 cm. (39,3 in.) ; Width : 123 cm (48,4 in.) ; Depth : 40 cm (15,7 in.)

Rare Louis XV style side-board console of serpentine shape made in purpleheart and satinwood veneer. The belt is decorated with a floral motif in end-cut marquetry, framed with a luxurious chiselled and gilded bronze ornamentation with foliate and shell motifs. Resting on two cabriole legs, the upper part is decorated with gilded bronze espagnolettes with open corset, characteristic of Messagé’s drawings, and joined by a stretcher decorated with a pattern of lambrequin surmounted by a gilded bronze flowery cartouche. It ends with hooves in the shape of lion’s paws.

Léon Messagé, Console de trumeau, from Cahier des dessins et croquis style Louis XV, 1890

Biography

Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener was born in Germany in 1849.  In 1880 he sets up his extensive workshops in rue de la Roquette in Paris where he creates many original pieces of furniture. He immitated practically every style, ranging from ‘’Boulle’’ to Louis XVI and including extraordinary personal interpretations of the Louis XV ‘’exhuberent’’ style. He participated in the 1889 Universal Exhibition and was awarded the gold medal for his remarkable copy of that most famous piece of furniture, Louis XV’s desk. The catalogue of the exhibition included a wonderful elegy qualifying the work as perfect : ‘’No criticism what-so-ever could be made’’.
As that other famous cabinet maker François Linke Linke (1855-1946), Zwiener had most of his bronzes modelled by Léon Messagé(1842-1901) whose work was considered as being of the best possible quality.

Léon Messagé (1842-1901), a renowned designer and sculptor who integrated in his ornaments related to the Rocaille asymmetry, new lines and shapes announcing the “Art Nouveau” style. But even though, Messagé found inspiration with these 18th century artists, such as Nicolas Pineau or J. A. Meissonier, he didn’t simply copy their work and showed great originality, even extravagance, with some designs contained in “Cahier des dessins et croquis style Louis XV”. He realized numerous sketches on gray paper before the execution of a reduced or life sized model of his ornaments, made of wax or terra-cotta. From 1885, Léon Messagé started working with important Parisian cabinetmakers such Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener (1849-1895) and François Linke (1855-1946). François Linke developed his personal style, with such talent and quality that he was named during the 1900 Universal Exhibition the “Linke Style”. His tremendous success and his particular formal imagination came from his association with the designer Léon Messagé. The mutual influences concerning these three artists can be concretely observed in numerous realizations.

Bibliography

Camille Mestdagh, L’Ameublement d’art français – 1850-1900, Les Editions de l’Amateur, Paris, 2010

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