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    Sale 11898

    Exceptional Sale

    13 April 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 26

    A PAIR OF EMPIRE ORMOLU AND PATINATED BRONZE TWELVE-LIGHT CANDELABRA

    CIRCA 1805, ATTRIBUTED TO PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE, AFTER A DESIGN BY CHARLES PERCIER AND PIERRE-FRANÇOIS-LÉONARD FONTAINE

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A PAIR OF EMPIRE ORMOLU AND PATINATED BRONZE TWELVE-LIGHT CANDELABRA
    CIRCA 1805, ATTRIBUTED TO PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE, AFTER A DESIGN BY CHARLES PERCIER AND PIERRE-FRANÇOIS-LÉONARD FONTAINE
    Circa 1805, attributed to Pierre-Philippe Thomire, after a design by Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine
    Of monumental scale, each in the form of a winged female figure holding aloft fluted and foliate-cast scroll arms on foliate-cast sphere and stepped sphere pedestal mounted with lyres and foliage, each with Saint-Cloud inventory marks, each numbered '792', one with 'No. 11579/859 St.C 3227' & '1578' (last numbers partially erased), the other with '14579/859 St.C 3227' & '1578'
    50 in. (127 cm.) high (2)


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    These magnificent candelabra bear the imperial inventory stamps for the château de Saint-Cloud, and were almost certainly supplied to Napoleon himself who made Saint-Cloud his principal residence after the Palais de Tuileries in Paris. The decoration of the interiors was supervised by court architects Charles Percier and Pierre-François- Léonard Fontaine in 1802.

    The design of these majestic candelabra, with winged figures of Victory holding aloft the candlearms, probably derives from the celebrated drawing in an album of designs by Percier and Fontaine in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (illustrated in M.L. Myers, French Architectural and Ornament Drawings of the Eighteenth Century, New York, 1992, cat. 98, pp. 157-8). One particular sheet features a closely related winged Victory candelabrum, and an inscription indicates that this and other pieces on the sheet were destined for Empress Josephine's boudoir at Saint-Cloud, thus establishing a strong connection between Percier and Fontaine and the design of these candelabra from Saint-Cloud.

    The model of Victory candelabrum is most closely associated with the work of Pierre-Philippe Thomire (1751-1843), perhaps the most important bronzier of the Empire period who produced an unparalleled oeuvre spanning ormolu mounts for furniture, sculpture and bronzes d'ameublement, much of it destined for the Imperial court. Two other pairs of Victory candelabra attributed to Thomire are in the château de Fontainebleau (illustrated in J.P. Samoyault,Pendules et bronzes d'ameublement entrés sous le Premier Empire, Paris, 1989, p. 156, cat. 133). A further pair of Victory candelabra with Saint-Cloud marks, but of smaller size (36 ins., 93 cm), was sold Christie's, London, 4 June 2014, lot 647 (£56,250).

    Built for Monsieur, the brother of Louis XIV, and later gifted to Queen Marie-Antoinette by Louis XVI, Saint-Cloud remained a favoured palace of the French kings following Napoleon's reign, and was where Napoleon III chose to invest himself as Emperor in 1852. Other than some changes to the interior decoration, much of Napoleon's furnishings remained intact during this period and were thankfully removed from the château before it was burned down during the Franco-Prussian war in 1871. .

    Provenance

    Almost certainly supplied to Napoleon Bonaparte for the château de Saint-Cloud, circa 1805.
    Private South American Collection.
    Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 22-23 October 2003, lot 730.


    Pre-Lot Text

    A PAIR OF CANDELABRA FROM THE CHATEAU DE SAINT-CLOUD

    PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE COLLECTION