An important pair of French late 19th century gilt bronze persan-style amphora-lamps. Designed by Edouard Lièvre, executed by Ferdinand Barbedienne
each of ovoid form, the body decorated allover in relief with finely chased foliate arabesques and flower heads, flanked by stylised handles with oriental cartouches, the waisted neck surmounted by a festooned gallery and a baluster shaped stem with pierced scrolling dragon frieze, supporting a frosted glass shade with parcel-gilt lions, on jewelled headed elephant feet with pendeloques, each base inscribed F. BARBEDIENNE , 21.5cm wide, 21.5cm deep, 101cm high (8" wide, 8" deep, 39.5" high). (2) - Sold for £36,000
Edouard Lièvre (1829-1886) was one of the most talented designers of the second half of the 19th century. He created ceramics, bronzes and furniture in the Renaissance, oriental and Japanese styles.
An impressive bed in the Renaissance style, known as "Emilie Valtesse de la Bigne's Bed", can be seen in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, as well as a guéridon decorated with tortoises and dragons by Barbedienne in the Japanese style. A famous aquarium of a comparable style, executed by Barbedienne, was exhibited in the "Design Contre Design" exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris (September 2007-January 2008). Edouard Lièvre submitted designs to the most prestigious firms such as Barbedienne or Christofle and for the fine merchants of the goods store A L'Escalier de Cristal, located near the Opera, 6 rue Scribe in Paris.
During the second half of the 19th century the vogue for new exotic styles resulted from a popular fascination for the Middle-East represented by the "orientalist" movement and later for the Japanese culture. The creations in these styles such as the works by Edouard Lièvre will lead to the Art Nouveau.
These amphora-lamps can be irrefutably attributed to Edouard Lièvre as they are similar in shape and decoration to Edouard Lièvre's earliest important work: the Persan Vase, exhibited at the Paris Expositions Universelles on the stand of the firm Barbedienne in 1878, 1889 and 1900 and was illustrated in the Art Journal exhibition catalogue.
In comparison with the Universal Exhibition vase, the present amphorae are decorated all-over in gilt-bronze and are raised on elephant-head feet, a typical design pattern created and used by the artist (cf. Connaissance des Arts).
Ferdinand Barbedienne (d. 1892) began his Parisian foundry in 1839, in partnership with Achille Collas (d. 1859). They were originally famous for bronze edition but from the 1850s developed the manufacturing of decorative objects in bronze and enamel decoration in the various oriental revival styles.
During the second half of the 19th century, thanks to the collaboration of artists such as Edouard Lièvre, the firm won numerous medals at the major Universal and International
A pair of candelabra manufactured by Barbedienne and attributed to Edouard Lièvre with an identical elephant-head base were offered Christie's London, 25 February 2005, lot 56.
An example of the Persan vase was sold Christie's New-York, 17 October 2002, lot 15 ($196,500).
- The Illustrated Catalogue of the Paris International Exhibition 1878, The Art Journal, London, 1878, p. 153.
- Edouard Lièvre, Connaissance des Arts, No. 228, Paris, 2004, pp. 28, 31 and 34.
Bonhams. Fine Continental Furniture & Works of Art, 4 Dec 2008. New Bond Street. Copyright © 2002-2008 Bonhams 1793 Ltd., Images and Text All Rights Reserved. www.bonhams.com