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A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED KINGWOOD AND SATINE MARQUETRY AND PARQUETRY PIANO A QUEUE
A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED KINGWOOD AND SATINE MARQUETRY AND PARQUETRY PIANO A QUEUE
A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED KINGWOOD AND SATINE MARQUETRY AND PARQUETRY PIANO A QUEUE
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A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED KINGWOOD AND SATINE MARQUETRY AND PARQUETRY PIANO A QUEUE
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Prospective purchasers are advised that several co… Read more Property from an Important American Collection 
A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED KINGWOOD AND SATINE MARQUETRY AND PARQUETRY PIANO A QUEUE

THE CASE BY FRANCOIS LINKE, INDEX NUMBER 1400, THE MOUNTS DESIGNED BY LEON MESSAGE, THE MOVEMENT BY ERARD, SERIAL NUMBER 98602, PARIS, CIRCA 1910

Details
A HIGHLY IMPORTANT FRENCH ORMOLU-MOUNTED KINGWOOD AND SATINE MARQUETRY AND PARQUETRY PIANO A QUEUE
THE CASE BY FRANCOIS LINKE, INDEX NUMBER 1400, THE MOUNTS DESIGNED BY LEON MESSAGE, THE MOVEMENT BY ERARD, SERIAL NUMBER 98602, PARIS, CIRCA 1910
The serpentine hinged lid inlaid with scrolling foliage and acanthus, above shaped bombé sides each centered with a dolphin amidst reeds and cascading water, the keyboard cover and front similarly decorated with scrolling foliage and centered with a scallop shell, with pierced music rest and lyre-shaped pedal support, on tapering cabriole legs headed by busts of Figaro and Rosine, signed F. Linke to the right side of the keyboard, the reverse of the mounts stamped FL and LINKE, the movement and pedal support stamped with Erard serial number 98602 and patent stamps, the interior of the case further stamped F. TURBEC/A LEMOINE
Open: 70½ in. (179 cm.) high, 63 in. (160 cm.) wide, 80¾ in. (205 cm.) long
Closed: 40¼ in. (102.3 cm.) high
Provenance
Madame d'Astoreca, Madrid, commissioned in 1910.
Acquired by the present owner from Alcocer Anticuarios, Madrid, 16 March 1970.
Literature
C. Payne, François Linke: The Belle Epoque of French Furniture, Woodbridge, 2003, pp. 449-455.
Special Notice

Prospective purchasers are advised that several countries prohibit the importation of property containing materials from endangered species, including but not limited to coral, ivory and tortoiseshell. Accordingly, prospective purchasers should familiarize themselves with relevant customs regulations prior to bidding if they intend to import this lot into another country.

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Lot Essay

COLLABORATIVE GENIUS: FRANçOIS LINKE AND LéON MESSAGé:

Effectively exhibiting the harmonious collaboration between sculptor and ébéniste, this sumptuous piano à queue is a tour de force of Rococo-inspired splendor and simultaneously celebrates the combined genius of François Linke's superior craftsmanship with Léon Messagé's Art Nouveau-infused designs.

Considered sculpture unto themselves, exquisite ormolu mountings were a characteristic of the finest late 19th century furniture, and Messagé's prowess at their design and application was unrivaled. The sculptor triumphantly embraced the asymmetry characterized by Rococo designers such as J.A. Meissonnier by creating lively and emotive allegorical figures linked by sinuous encadrements. Messagé was honored alongside Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener with a médaille d'or at the 1889 Paris Exposition Universelle for their collaboration on Zwiener's maginificent serre bijoux, sold Christie's, London, 17 March 2011, lot 409 (£623,650). It is almost certain that Linke first came into contact with Messagé through Zwiener's introduction and the sculptor's designs have since become synonymous with Linke's oeuvre. In 1890, Messagé published his Cahier des Dessins et Croquis Style Louis XV, totaling thirty-six designs, ranging from furniture to silverware, which were made available to the public.

While pianos of such opulence and grandeur were not taken on as stock by Linke, nor were they exhibited, instrument commissions and their designs drew heavily from Linke's celebrated furnishings for the 1900 and 1905 Paris and Liège exhibitions. Linke's famous Commode Louis XV Figaro: Scène du Barbier de Séville (index number 553) and Commode coquille: Coquetterie et Modestie (index number 559) formed an integral and important part of Linke's award-winning stand at the Paris exhibition in 1900. On the present piano, Linke employs Messagé's models for the figural chutes from both commodes, flanking the keyboard with high-relief figures of Figaro and Rosine and punctuating the reverse of the art-case with the sculptor's famous design for 'Coquetterie', modeled bare-breasted and loosely draped at the waist.

Messagé's designs for the figural chutes were nearly complete prior to receiving direction from Linke for their display at the Paris exhibition. In most cases the sculptor retained the rights to his own models, allowing him to adapt them as necessary. Thus Linke was obliged to purchase the designs at a tremendous cost, though once acquired the first castings began in 1897 and continued through 1899 (C. Payne, François Linke: The Belle Epoque of French Furniture, Woodbridge, 2003, p. 143). The purchase proved fruitful for Linke and the chutes have long been considered favorites of the celebrated cabinetmaker. Coquetterie et Modestie is an over-arching motif throughout Linke's oeuvre and the figure of 'Coquetterie' in particular appears frequently, as seen on index numbers 712 and 713 (a music cabinet and companion vitrine, respectively) shown at the 1905 Liège exhibition. The vitrine-cabinet was subsequently sold Christie's, London, 26 October 2000, lot 232 (£113,750). In 1909, Linke again reinterpreted the chutes as a pair of wall appliques (index number 1923) commissioned for Elias Meyer's palatial drawing room at 16 Grosvenor Square, London (op. cit., p. 229).

INDEX NUMBER 1400 AND MADAME D'ASTORECA:

Christopher Payne cites three orders for this model piano, index number 1400; the first dating to May 1907 (Erard serial number 92430). The present lot, presumed to be the last recorded commission, was ordered in 1910 by Madame d'Astoreca of Madrid at a cost of 7,891.85 francs, including an additional cost of 375 francs for gilding (op. cit., p. 450). A record in the Erard Archive for serial number 98602 describes the instrument as a 'Grand piano, delivered 1910 October 7, without veneer wood, to Mr. Linke, cabinetmaker, 170 Faubourg Saint-Antoine, Paris'. Further notations show a discounted sale cost of 2,100 francs, rather than the firm's full price of 3000 francs, which correspond with Linke's commande number 1405 for Astoreca's order. Another piano, supposedly ordered circa 1911 or earlier, was completed in 1921 due to economic constraints during the Great War, however its location is currently unknown.

Madame d'Astoreca and her relatives appear frequently in Linke's invoices though little is known of the aristocratic Spanish family beyond addresses for two residences on the outskirts of Paris. However, the family proved to be lucrative clients for Linke and large orders, a number of which were destined for a large property at 8 Boulevard Maillot, Neuilly were filled between 1907 and 1913. Among the furnishings ordered during this period was a vernis Martin cylinder bureau (index number 515), offered Bonham's, London, 17 June 2009, lot 98, which is assumed to be a unique desk produced only once by the cabinetmaker. As late as 1918, Linke began filling orders in contrasting Louis XVI style for a Mr. J. M. Astoreca at 23 Avenue du Bois. Given Linke's extensive work for aristocratic families in South America, including Don Antonio Devoto of Argentina, one can speculate that the Astorecas, who originate in Basque, Spain, are one and the same extended mining family as those in Iquique and Valparaiso, Chile.
The aforementioned 1907 example of this model, currently in a private collection, is illustrated C. Payne, p. 453. Additionally, a watercolor design for a piano loosely based on the present model, shown with similar espagnolettes against recessed trellis-cast angles, is illustrated C. Payne, p. 452, though there is no record that this variant design for index number 1400 was ever executed.

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