A pair of Oriental style planters
Signed F. Barbedienne
Height : 16 cm (6 1/3 in.) ; Diameter : 18 cm (7 in.)
A lovely pair of two handled pierced and gilded bronze flower planters, decorated with oriental style entrelac motifs. Richly ornamented with a floral decor made of polychrome cloisonné enamel on turquoise blue background.
Already esteemed at the London Exhibition of 1851 with two « Council medals », Barbedienne’s firm won at the 1855 Paris Universal Exhibition a medal of honour and eleven cooperator’s medals for the work of his co-workers, such as his designer Louis-Constant Sévin (1821-1888) and his chaser Désiré Attarge (c.1820-1878). The success of Barbedienne’s firm brought him many official commissions, such in about 1860, as Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) supplied bronzes for furniture for the Pompeian Villa of Prince Napoleon, located avenue Montaigne in Paris. At the London Universal Exhibition of 1862 Barbedienne won medals in three different categories : Furniture, Silversmith work and Artistic bronzes, combining for some pieces with onyx marble and enamel. Barbedienne was not only, with the Parisian silversmith Christofle, one of the leaders of the French Aesthetic Movement in decorative arts, but also the first artist to produce the famous « cloisonné » enamels (see « L’émaillerie moderne », Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Alfred Darcel, t. XXIV, janv.-juin 1868, p° 75-84). At the 1867 Universal Exhibition in his capacity as member of and speaker for the Jury, he was non-contestant, but exhibited nevertheless with great success cloisonné and champlevé enamelled pieces. Barbedienne was made an officer of the Légion d’Honneur in 1867 and Commander in 1878 when he was compared with « a prince of industry and the king of bronze casting ». His glory did not decline with the passage of the time for at the Universal Exhibition of 1889 the critics thanked Barbedienne for the example he set for other bronze-casters by the perfection of his bronzes.
« L’Exposition universelle de 1889 : l’exemple de Barbedienne », Catherine Chevillot, in Revue de l’Art, 1992, n°95.
Catalogue de l’exposition : « L’art en France sous le Second Empire », Grand-Palais, Paris 1979.
Catalogue de l’Exposition Universelle, les Beaux-Arts et les Arts décoratifs, t. I : l’Art moderne, Paris, 1878.