Edouard Lièvre (d. 1886) trained as a painter in Thomas Couture's atelier before devoting himself to the industrial arts. His earliest important work, the vase persan was designed for Christofle in 1874 and exhibited at the Paris Expositions Universelles in 1878, 1889 and 1900. A fine example of this vase, illustrating the collaboration between Lièvre and Barbedienne, sold in these rooms, 17 October 2002, lot 15 ($196,500). This enamelled amphora-on-stand featured on Barbedienne's prize-winning stand at the 1878 Paris Exposition Universelle, and was illustrated in the Art Journal exhibition catalogue (see The Illustrated Catalogue of the Paris International Exhibition, 1878, The Art Journal, London, 1878, p. 153).
Towards the late 1870s, worried by the lack of manufacturing of the pieces he had designed earlier, Lièvre created a fabulous suite of neo-Japanese furniture for Albert Vieillard (d.1895), the renowned director of Bordeaux's ceramics manufactory. It was Vieillard's keen interest for Japan that inspired Lièvre's highly original designs. The most celebrated piece of this suite is the Cabinet Japonais, now in the Musée d'Orsay. At about the same time, the designer created a parade bed, in the Renaissance style, for the notorious courtesan Valtesse de La Bigne (now in the Musée des Arts Decoratifs).
After Edouard Lièvre's death, his sketches and plans, together with their reproduction rights, were sold in 1887 and 1890. Some were purchased by George and Henry Pannier, the directors of the luxury store Escalier de Cristal, who specialised in creations of 'Sino-Japanese' style.
The design of the present jardinière can be irrefutably attributed to Edouard Lièvre by analysing details which follow an established design pattern used by the artist: the elaborately jeweled elephant-head feet (see Connaissance des Arts, No. 228, Edouard Lièvre, Paris, 2004, illustrations pp. 28, 31 and 34) and the signature cross-hatch geometric pattern that also appears on the frieze of a fish bowl (op.cit., illustration p. 31). For an example of candelabra incorporating similar motifs, see Christie's King Street, 24 February 2005, lot 56 (£28,800).
For a note on Barbedienne, see lot 61.