Galerie J. Kugel, Paris.
Serge Roche, Miroirs, Fribourg, 1986, ill. 225-226
Post Lot Text
A LOUIS XV PARCEL-GILT AND POLYCHROME-DECORATED MIRROR
MID-18TH CENTURY, PROBABLY AUSTRIAN
The central rectangular plate headed by an oval-shaped plate, within a frame decorated with cartouches depicting landscapes and seascapes, the cresting and apron decorated with allegories, fitted for electricity
This exceptional mirror is unique in many respects. First, its impressive frame features not only painted elements but also elaborately carved motifs, which have all been cleverly blended and the result of which is particularly powerful. Moreover, the carved elements represented here are all the more distinctive that these are figurative, a feature which is rarely found on such objects and undoubtedly adds to the singularity of the present lot. Among the rare examples featuring comparative figurative elements, a mirror now in the Brunswick Museum, Germany (illustrated in H. Kreisel, Die Kunst des deutschen Möbels. Spätbarock und Rokoko, Munich, 1983, ill. 851). The architectural composition is also highly distinctive. While mirror plates were at the time typically considered the central components to mirrors, and representative of the importance then held by these - the plate here somewhat disappears to let the scroll-carved and foliate adorned reserves vigorously stand out. The depiction of the sky, which is quite preeminent, accentuates the already light and 'airy' energy which the present mirror already effectively conveys. Despite its rather large proportions, the frame does not, in any way, distract the viewer from the intricately and delicately-carved elements which adorn the mirror.
A compelling representation of two very distinctive repertoires, this mirror offers a powerful combination of opposing forces : where the attributes of war - in the form of canons, cannonballs and soldiers' tents, to both the cresting and the sides - are in complete opposition with the attributes of science, which are represented almost exclusively to the apron.
The present lot is closely related to the oeuvre of the Austrian sculptor Leonhard Sattler (1676-1744), who probably worked under Giovanni Giuliani in Vienna, before settling in the Augustine monastery of St Florian, near Linz, Austria, in 1711, where he remained until his death.
In this important place of pilgrimage, Sattler devoted his time, not only to the more 'traditional' sculptures made of stone or wood, but also to the creation and ornementation of various works of art and furniture pieces, among which the spectacular cabinet headed by the figure of Chronos (illustrated in H. Kreisel, op. cit., ill. 657 et 659).