Gabriel Viardot succeded to his father's business in 1861. His career began as a wood carver and he produced small furniture, sculpturally carved with naturalistic motifs and animals. In the 1855 Exposition Universelle in Paris, his finely sculpted objects were well received. However, with the increasing importation of similarly produced Swiss and German articles, he found less opportunity for these. Around 1870 he turned to the idea of producing Meubles genre Chinois et Japonais. The taste in Europe for such pieces was well established and at the 1878 Exposition Universelle in Paris he was awarded a silver medal. He later received a gold medal in the 1889 Exposition.
Around 1885, a contemporary commentator notes that he had a workshop employing approximately 100 men, both sculptors and bnistes, with another 25 to 30 outside contract workers. The workshop was located at 36 rue Rambuteau and he had his first retail shop at rue de Grand-Chantier, moving locations on several occasions, but finally settling at 36 rue Amelot (see Christopher Payne, 19th Century European Furniture, Woodbridge 1989, pps. 78-79.; Victoria and Albert Museum, Art and Design in Europe and America, 1800-1900, London 1987, p. 135).
A similar vitrine was sold in these Rooms, on 29th October 1998, lot 133.