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 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.'
Although this vitrine is apparently unsigned, the presence of Zwiener's distinctive 'frond-leaf' acanthus mounts are characteristic of his oeuvre. Subtle variants of this model are known and one example, also unsigned, sold Sotheby's New York, A Private Collection: Volume I, 26 October 2006, lot 37 ($54,000).