A PAIR OF MONUMENTAL RESTAURATION ORMOLU AND PATINATED-BRONZE TORCHERES
A PAIR OF MONUMENTAL RESTAURATION ORMOLU AND PATINATED-BRONZE TORCHERES
A PAIR OF MONUMENTAL RESTAURATION ORMOLU AND PATINATED-BRONZE TORCHERES
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A PAIR OF MONUMENTAL RESTAURATION ORMOLU AND PATINATED-BRONZE TORCHERES
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Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more
A PAIR OF MONUMENTAL RESTAURATION ORMOLU AND PATINATED-BRONZE TORCHERES

BY JEAN-FRANCOIS DENIERE, PARIS, CIRCA 1820-40

Details
A PAIR OF MONUMENTAL RESTAURATION ORMOLU AND PATINATED-BRONZE TORCHERES
BY JEAN-FRANCOIS DENIERE, PARIS, CIRCA 1820-40
Each with a part-gadrooned up-light above a baluster pillar comprising alternating bands of ormolu and patinated-bronze foliage and fluting with acanthus clasp below, supported on a concave tripartite base mounted with ormolu laurel and scroll motif, the base with massive foliate-capped paw feet to each angle issuing foliate-capped scrolls and centered by an anthemion to each side, each signed DENIERE BRONZIERE A PARIS at top of triangular pedestal, previously drilled for electricity, possibly originally conceived without feet, and with further candelabra
7 ft. 10 ½ in. (240 cm.) high, 32 ½ in. (82.5 cm.) wide
Provenance
[Possibly] Baron Roger; his sale Paris, 27 January 1841, lot 172.
Anonymous sale; Christie's, Monaco, 15 December 1996, lot 135 (when sold with additional candelabra).
Aimée de Heeren, New York and Paris (1903 – 2006).
Special notice

Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.

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Lot Essay

These magnificent torchères are impressive in both scale and design. Denière’s clients included members of the first rank of society in the final years of the eighteenth and first half of the nineteenth centuries. Their monumental scale suggests that they must have been commissioned by a wealthy and important client with a home of palatial proportions, large enough to display them to their best advantage. Designs in the antique manner was popularized by Percier and Fontaine's Recueil de Decorations Interieurs of 1801. Various elements of Percier and Fontaine’s designs can be seen to relate to the present lot. See for example the design by Percier and Fontaine illustrated nearby. They reflect the à l’antique taste popularized by the court architects Charles Percier and Pierre-François-Léonard Fontaine in their Recueil de Décorations Intérieures of 1801- a design for a related torchère from this influential book of designs is illustrated overleaf.


JEAN-FRANCOIS DENIERE
The Parisian Jean-François Deninger, called Denière (1774-1866) was appointed envoy in Constantinople around 1796. He entered partnership with François Mathelin of Paris in 1797. Denière acted as fournisseur to the Garde-Meuble Impérial & Royal, supplying both the Duchesse de Berry and Louis-Philippe, while also working for the King of Spain. Along with Pierre-Philippe Thomire, he was one of the leading architects of the goût Egyptien under the influence of Baron Vivant Denon. Throughout his career, Denière not only sold models invented by his fellow bronziers but also bought the chefs modèles of former bronziers in sales liquidating their stock. His business as fabricant de bronzes was set up in 1803, and he is recorded at 58 rue de Turenne in 1813 and at 9 rue d'Orléans au Marais by 1820. He went into partnership with his son François-Thimothée in 1844. According to the notes on makers in the French version of the catalogue for the 1862 International Exhibition in London, they were one of the first serious competitors to Thomire. The company's work was illustrated by J.B. Waring in his treatises on both the 1851 and the 1862 exhibitions, and George Wallis of the South Kensington Museum wrote in his analysis of the bronzes and works of art for the Art Journal Supplement 1851 that a striking feature of Denière's display were his works in bronze and ormolu. The firm exhibited widely to the end of the century and finally closed in 1903 some sixty years after Thomire. Denière’s prominence as a leading bronzier of his time is illustrated by the important commissions he undertook. The 10th Duke of Hamilton, for example, commissioned him for work at Hamilton Palace in 1823. A highly important Charles X ormolu center table, circa 1825 by Denière for Hamilton Palace was sold Sotheby’s, New York, 26 October 2010, lot 204 ($602,500).

Other related torchères and candelabra include:

- Four torchères of striking stylistic similarity to the present lot, made by Thomire in 1811 for the Tuileries from a design approved by Louis David and Baron Vivant Denon, are now in the collection of the Grand Trianon (see figure nearby and also Ottomeyer and Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, München 1987, p. 663, fig. 5). While the Grand Trianon examples are entirely gilt, they share similarities in elements of design such as the acanthus clasp at the base of the column where it meets the tripartite base.

- A set of three ormolu and patinated-bronze torchères attributed to Thomire, circa 1821 were delivered for the Château de Saint-Ouen (see Age D'or des Arts Decoratifs, 1814-1848, Grand Palais, Paris, 1991, p. 92, fig. 17). The Château de Saint-Ouen examples share the fluted and repeated foliate pattern patinated-bronze elements seen on the present lot.

- A set of six torchères, supplied by Thomire to the Prince Regent at Carlton House in 1814 and now at Windsor Castle (Hugh Roberts, For the King's Pleasure, the Furnishing and Decoration of George IV's Apartments at Windsor Castle, London, 2001, pp. 95, fig. 91, RCIN 31362).

- Also at Windsor Castle are a pair of lapis and ormolu candelabra by Thomire of similar yet diminutive design to the present lot (Ibid., p. 94, fig. 66 and 90, RCIN 72532).


THE PROVENANCE
These spectacular torchères were previously in the collection of Aimée de Heeren, a glamorous figure in high society in Brazil, Paris and New York. Born Aimée Lopez de Sotto Major she made a sensation in Parisian society when she moved there from Brazil in 1938, befriending Coco Chanel and Elsie de Wolfe at whose famous Circus Ball she wore one of the first ever dresses by Christian Dior. After the the Nazi occupation of France, she was forced to emigrate to the U.S., where she fell in love with Joseph P. Kennedy Jr, the oldest of the Kennedy brothers and remained close friends with the Kennedy family throughout her life. She later married the Spanish-American Rodman Heeren, grandson of Antonio Heeren, 1st Count of Heeren, and great-grandson of John Wanamaker, the founder of the Wanamaker Department Stores. They had homes in Paris, New York City, Palm Beach, Florida and Biarritz, where she still swam regularly in the ocean aged 102! Their spectacular town house on East 90th Street, known as the Wannamaker-Munn mansion, had been in her husband's family for four generations since the 1920s. Listed frequently as one of the best dressed women in the world, her dazzling array of friends included Charles de Bestegui (she attended his legendary Bal Oriental at the Palazzo Labia, Venice in 1951), Grace Kelly, Baron Alexis de Redé and the Shah of Iran.

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