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.