Born in Herdon, Germany in 1849, Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener is recorded as having worked in Paris at 12, rue de la Roquette from 1880 to 1895. His successful atelier executed elegant pieces of furniture replicating articles from the Garde-Meuble National of France, most notably the celebrated bureau de Roi by Jean-Henri Riesener and Jean-François Oeben. Working mainly in a vigorous interpretation of the French Rococo style, Zwiener's furniture is often inset with the finest marquetry, vernis Martin panels and, as here, applied with delicate gilt-bronze mounts. In awarding Zwiener a gold medal for his stand at the 1889 Paris exhibition, the jurists noted "dès ses débuts d'une Exposition universelle, [il] s'est mis au premier rang par la richesse, la hardiesse et le fini de ses meubles incrustis de bronzes et fort habilement marquetis." In 1895, on receiving an important royal commission from Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia, Zwiener returned to Berlin where he was known as Julius Zwiener. A group of furniture produced for the Kaiser was exhibited at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle (see Sotheby's, New York, 29 June 1989, lots 270-5). Many of the pieces executed by Zwiener for the Prussian royal palaces were brought to Huis Doorn in Utrecht in 1918, where the Kaiser lived in exile until his death in 1941.