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Lovely Late 19th Century Gilt Bronze and Crystal Centerpiece by Barbedienne

$5,500

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A lovely quality late 19th century gilt bronze and crystal centerpiece by Barbedienne Ferdinand Barbedienne The wonderful floral etched crystal vase inserted into a gilt and patina bronze neck with four legs leading to a decorated round plate finely designed with male and female mermaid love scenes separated by trophies of battle. Signed F. Barbedienne to the base. Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) was a highly important and prolific bronze founder of one of the most important French art foundries. He pioneered the use of mounts and, more commonly, bronze sculpture including figures and animals. Barbedienne produced catalogues of bronze reproductions of Greek and Roman classical sculpture and experimented with ‘champleve’ and ‘cloisonné’ enamels during the third quarter of the century. Barbedienne exhibited several pieces of furniture at the 1855 Paris Exhibition including a gilt bronze mounted oak dressing table and a gilt bronze mounted ebony veneered bookcase. Both pieces were executed in his favoured Renaissance Revival style for furniture. Furniture with mounts signed by Barbedienne is extremely rare. The Barbedienne foundry employed up to three hundred skilled labourers, handling the casting of numerous national monuments and architectural schemes. Ferdinand Barbedienne himself also took an active part in the promotion of contemporary sculpture and became one of the founders for Davis d’Angers’ medallions as well as much of Rude’s sculpture. His signature varied from hand written capitals to stamp in capitals, usually ‘F. Barbedienne, Fondeur’ or ‘BARBEDIENNE PARIS’. In 1839 Barbedienne collaborated with the inventor Achille Collas who had succeeded in enlarging and reducing works of art to arbitrary sizes by a simple mathematical calculation, allowing the accurate reduction of classical and contemporary marbles for the purpose of reproduction in bronze. In 1850 Barbedienne was commissioned to furnish the Paris town hall for which he was awarded with the ‘medaille d’ honneur’ at the Paris World Exhibition in 1855.

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