GARNIER

c. 1720-1800; MASTER 1742; MARCHAND-EBENISTE

P

ierre Gamier was born in 1720 in Paris, the son of Francois Gamier, ebeniste in the rue du Fau­bourg Saint-Antoine who was active from 1720 to 1774, using the stamp *F. G. He became a master in 1742, and moved from the Faubourg-Saint – Antoine to the rue Neuve-des-Petits-Champs in the financial quarter of the city. His success was soon recorded in the Almanack general des marchands. Although he produced several pieces in the Louis XV style most of his work was carried out in the Neo­classical style of which he was one of the pioneers, together with Oeben and Joseph. As early as 1761 he produced furniture in the Neo-classical style after designs by the architect de Wailly, which were ex­hibited at the Salon in the same year. The first piece is described as follows: ‘A table in lapis lazuli with legs in bois des Indes decorated with gilt-bronze mounts. This table supports a granite urn in the Antique taste. They are both of a beautiful shape, the mounts are rich and in noble taste, and far removed from the fri­volous style of our furniture which has been in fashion far too long.’ (UAvant-Coureur. 1761.) Gamier sup­plied another piece, not described in detail, but ’exe­cuted in the best Boulle manner’, and a secretaire belonging to Mme la Presidente Desvieux. The al­lusion to ’Boulle manner’ surely suggests a piece of furniture in ebony, laden with gilt-bronze mounts, probably of the type of the Lalive de Jully bureau.

In the same years Gamier made a series of cele­brated bureaux plats (one that belonged to Talleyrand was formerly at the Chateau de Sagan, another

very early in the development of the Neo-classical movement, thus making Gamier a pioneer of the new style. (Orinoco Foundation)

belongs to the Marquis of Bath at Longleat, a third is in the Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon, a fourth in the Huntington Library, while a fifth is in a private collec­tion). These bureaux can be dated around 1762-65, as they are all decorated with the same mounts, drawer – handles with Greek patterns. Antique oil lamps and triglyphs such as those found in drawings by Carmon – telle, dating from about 1760. T he pair of commodes stamped by Gamier and Bon Durand, inscribed with the date 1768, now in the Swedish Royal Collections in the castle of Gripsholm, also have the same classical gilt-bronze mounts (257).

At the same time as Oeben, Gamier perfected a type of roll-top desk of which two examples are recorded (252). One of them is dated 1767, that is. two years before Ricsener delivered the ‘bureau du Roi’. It is evident that in form Garnier’s bureau is much more innovatory and ’modern’ than that of the ‘bureau du Roi’, deriving its inspiration directly from the bureau of Lalive de Jully made in about 1756, from which it borrows the same squares with double inlay of brass stringing and fluted pilasters. The stylistic similarities are so striking that it is tempting to attribute the Lalive de Jully bureau to Gamier rather than Joseph.

From 1769 the Marquis de Marigny was one of Garnier’s principal clients. He supplied him with many different types of furniture including, in 1778, a series of 36 caned chairs in mahogany. Some of these chairs, which have now been identified, are stamped by Gamier and some by Cosson to whom Gamier subcontracted part of the order (Cosson was appren­ticed to Francois Gamier in 1750). In 1779 Marigny ordered a complete series of pieces of furniture in ma­hogany or ebony from Gamier for his house in the Place des Victoires; for the library, an ebony table covered in green cloth with a stand supporting an

12531 (alxwc left) Burca u pla t in ebony, stamped Gamier, с. 1762-65; the handles in the form of Greek motifs arc typical of Gamier; they appear on bureaux depicted in drawings by Carmontclle dating from the early 1760s lArchiivs Galene Aveiine, Paris)

I254J (above) Marquetry serving-table stamped Pierre Gamier, one of a suite of three (Archives Galene Aveline, Paris) 12551 Bureau plat and cartonnier in tulipwood and amaranth, stamped Gamier: Gamier produced five examples of this type of desk, which can be dated between 1762 and 1765 from its appearance in drawings by Carmontelle from these years. (Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon)

APPENDIX

GODEFROY SALE. 25 APRIL 1785 238) One secretaire in marquetry decorated with gilt – bronze mounts with four glazed doors which open with a single key. and behind which the depth is sufficient to place pictures or medals. Behind the two glazed panels on the base are 18 butterflies, very well painted, by Mmc Vallaycr Coster which may be removed and replaced with other decoration. Between the two mirrors above there are four small pictures in bronze frames; one landscape in oil on copper by M. — ; a miniature in the style of Clinchetel; a young girl holding a Ixittlc. refusing to give

a drink to a boy by J. B. Mass£; a miniature representing a sleeping woman naked to the knees, by M. Charlie after a painting of Dcshays; the fourth in enamel represents the bust of a young Italian woman by Courtois after Taraval

This fine piece, beautifully executed, was made 12 years ago by Gamier. 805L 238b) 2 very fine encoignures

in the shape of square pedestals with ebony ground, decorated with garlands and gilt-bronze friezes of rosettes. 1Ъе rest of the front is veneered in palisander. They are surmounted by white marble tops. 2 pouccs thick.

Total height 4 pieds. width 2 pieds 3 pouces. 498L

I258J Secretaire a abuttant in Japanese lacquer stamped Gamier, c. 1775-80. The motifs of gilt-bronze discs in Antique style can also be found on a series
of mahogany chairs made by Gamier for Marigny in 1778. (Christie’s London, 4 December 1975, lot 89)
/259J Secretaire d abattant in Japanese lacquer stamped Gamier, confiscated at the time of the Revolution from the town house of the Marquis de la Vaupaliere now in the Avenue Matignon. (MusJe du Louvre, Paris)
1260] (right) Secretaire a abattant in bois satine stamped both Gamier and Dautriche (to whom Gamier must have subcontracted the order), c. 1775. (Private collection)

Jean-Frangois