• 500 Years: Decorative Arts Eur auction at Christies

    Sale 7841

    500 Years: Decorative Arts Europe

    29 April 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 67

    A FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED KINGWOOD AND BOIS SATINE BUREAU PLAT

    BY ZWIENER JANSEN SUCCESSEUR, LATE 19TH/EARLY 20TH CENTURY

    Price Realised  

    A FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED KINGWOOD AND BOIS SATINE BUREAU PLAT
    BY ZWIENER JANSEN SUCCESSEUR, LATE 19TH/EARLY 20TH CENTURY
    The serpentine rectangular top inset with a gilt-tooled burgundy leather writing-surface, above a frieze with three drawers to the front and three simulated drawers to the back, the outer drawers with foliate cast handles stamped 'ZJ', the locks engraved 'CT LINKE/SERRURERIE/PARIS', the drawer front and sides quarter-veneered, on cabriole legs headed by scallop-shell clasps running to hairy-paw sabots
    30½ in. (77.5 cm.) high; 78¾ in. (200 cm.) wide; 38½ in. (98 cm.) deep


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    Jean-Henri Jansen (1854-1928) founded the celebrated decorators Maison Jansen in 1880. Around 1900 Maison Jansen acquired the archives and rights of the Paris workshop of the ébéniste Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener. One of the premier haut luxe cabinetmakers of the late 19th century the German born Zwiener was summoned to Berlin in 1895 to produce a suite of furniture for the Kaiser Wilhelm II (1859-1941). Thus after 1895 Maison Jansen took over Zwiener's Paris atelier, renaming it Zwiener Jansen Successeur and adopting the practice of stamping pieces, as can be seen in this lot, 'ZJ'.

    This bureau is very much in the florid Louis XV rococo manner favoured by Zwiener, and just how faithfully Maison Jansen continued his work is well illustrated by the scallop-shell corner mounts heading the legs which also feature to Zwiener's own, slightly early, pieces (see Sotheby's, New York, A Private Collection Volume I, 26 October 2006, lot 165).

    Evidence of another intriguing association between the premier cabinetmakers and decorators of fin de siècle Paris, is that the drawer locks of the present bureau are engraved by Clément Linke, who made locks and keys for his brother, the famous ébéniste François Linke. It is therefore possible that Maison Jansen acquired the design and bronze master models for this bureau from Zwiener but actually employed François Linke's atelier to make it.

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.