Category FRENCH FURNITURE MAKERS

GOLE. c. 1620-84; MASTER BEFORE 1656

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nly recently, through the researches of Luns – ingh Scheurleer. have we come to know of Pierre Gole. certainly the most important ebeniste during the first half of Louis XIV’s reign. He was born in Bergen near Alkmaar in Holland in about 1620 and settled at a young age in Paris. In about 1643 he worked as apprentice to the ‘menuisier en ebene’ Adrien Garbrant. whose eldest daughter he was soon to marry. The marriage contract, drawn up on 22 January 1645, records that Anne Garbrant was pro­vided with a dowry of 2,(XX) livres. Garbrant was par­tially paralysed and Gole had therefore to assume responsibility for the workshop and the Garbrant family. The connections were strengthened between the two families when one of Pierre’s brothers. Adrien Gole. also a ‘menuisier en ebene’...

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THEM ARC HANDS – MERCIERS

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n the eighteenth century ordinary furniture was sold directly by the ebenistes, whereas luxury furniture was sold increasingly through the dealers, then called the ‘marchands-mcrciers’. The fashion begun by Boulle of decorating furniture with rich gilt – bronze mounts made its production very expensive. The <5b£nistes, who were always short of capital, gradually lost the initiative in the making of fine furniture, which eventually only marchands- mcrciers could afford to commission. The demands of a clientele avid for luxury and novelty were such that the dealers scarcely knew what to dream up next. Some, like Hebert, dismantled Japanese chests in order to take out the lacquer panels and apply them to new pieces of furniture...

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THE TRADE IN CURIOSITES

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n the seventeenth century the furniture trade was divided be­tween the ebenistes. the tapissiers (upholsterers) and the mar – chands-merciers. The marchands-merciers included furniture under the same general heading of curiosites’ as shells. Chinese por­celain and scientific instruments. The curiosity’ trade was located on the lie de la Cite near the Palais, and in the rue Saint-Honore, near the Louvre:

Here is a list of dealers who own shops, who buy. sell and trade in pictures. Chinese furniture, porcelain, crystal, shells and other decorative objects and jewellery: M. d’Hostel [Dotel], at the beginning of Quai de la Megisserie; Malaferre and Varenne...

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EIGHTEENTH-CENTURY AUCTION SALES

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ntil the middle of the eighteenth century, auction cata­logues did not categorize furniture as such. Only paintings, drawings, works of sculpture and intaglios were deemed worthy of coverage in a printed catalogue. In dispersals by execu­tors. second-hand furniture, which was judged to be of little value, was sold by auction without a catalogue, or by the upholsterers. There was no catalogue in 1741, 1751 or 1752 when Louis XV sold in the Louvre and Tuileries the finest cabinets made for his great­grandfather Louis XIV. The situation changed half-way through the century: old pieces, particularly Boulle’s, became collectors’ items, eagerly sought after by enthusiasts. From then on catalogues included a chapter usually entitled ’Meubles curieux’ or ‘Mcubles de Boulle’...

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THE PRICE OF FURNITURE

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he received notion that furniture was very expensive in the eighteenth century needs to be seriously reconsidered. First, new and second-hand furniture (called ’de hazard’ in the language of the time) should be distinguished. Second-hand fur­niture was considerably cheaper, except for collectors’ items such as Boulle furniture. At a time when the cost of the workmanship was a

less important factor than the price of raw materials, the price of a piece of furniture depended on the richness of its gilt-bronze mounts or the application of precious materials such as panels of pictra-dura, oriental lacquer or porcelain. Only this type of fur­niture fetched high prices, especially when the mounts were made to a new design...

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FOREIGN CLIENTELE

FOREIGN CLIENTELEПодпись: ally recognized throughout Europe, although perhaps to ahe supremacy of French furniture in our period was gener­

lesser extent in Italy and England. The Faubourg Saint – Antoine exported some of its finest furniture, and advertisements by ebenistes are to be found in contemporary almanacs offering to make ‘deliveries to the country and abroad’. Some furniture found today in Britain. Russia and Germany must have arrived there before the Revolution, sent from Paris by diplomats posted abroad, by travellers or commercial agents to foreign princes. It should be added that French ambassadors were accustomed to order a sump­tuous suite of furniture from Paris for their new posting, and it would usually be sold locally, when the ambassador returned home

The oldest examples of foreign purchases are Swedish, dating from the 1690s...

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THE FRENCH CLIENTELE

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he factors that made Paris the capital of commerce for lux­ury goods in the eighteenth century are well known. France was then the richest country in Europe, with the highest population, and its capital was a great city with a love of ostentation and novelty. The numerous contemporary descriptions of Paris bear witness to the sumptuousness of Parisian houses and the ad­miration which they evoked in foreign capitals. Shameless luxury was the order of the day Voltaire’s L’Apologie du Luxe (which was also entitled La Defense du Mondain). written in 1720. expressed a common sentiment rather than a new idea. The taste for luxury was a driving force in the economy, of which the authorities were well aware and which they sought to encourage...

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THE GUILD OF MENU1SIERS

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uring the seventeenth century and even more so during the eighteenth, the trades involved in the making of articles of wood in France, the m£tiers du bois. were strictly regulated by the guilds. Originally craftsmen in wood were grouped together in one single guild, that of the menuisiers, which had broken away from the guild of carpenters during the Middle Ages. During the eighteenth century techniques of working with wood became more sophisticated, resulting in specialized groups of craftsmen. Two dis­tinct trades existed under the umbrella of the same guild, as well as the menuisiers specializing in wall-panelling or in carriages, with their own methods of work and places of business...

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FRENCH FURNITURE MAKERS

Подпись:FRENCH FURNITURE MAKERSThe title of this work calls for preliminary comment. A good third of the French ebenistes of the seventeenth and eight­eenth centuries were first or second generation immigrants. A glance at the contents list of this book will bear this out. Ebenistes of the century of Louis XIV came from the Flemish Netherlands or from Holland. Boulle’s family originated from Guelderland, dole was born in Holland, as was Oppenordt. while Laurent Lelibon was born in Antwerp and Michel Camp in the duchy of Jullicrs. The great names of the rococo style also came from these regions, such as the Criards from Brussels and the Vanrisamburghs from Hol­land. and some also from Germany like Latz and Joseph Baum – hauer...

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