"Goldsmith Froment Meurice Centerpiece In Sterling Silver Nineteenth"Important centerpiece in solid silver, oblong on a partially openwork base. The body with repoussé contours of rococo motifs and centered on two sides of a cartouche, is flanked by two handles in the shape of a triton-putto. Length of putty heads: 67 cm Height of putty heads: 24 cm Height of central cartridge 17 cm Width: 35.5 cm Weight: 5160 gr Material: silver 1st grade Hallmark: Minerva Period: 2nd part of the 19th century Goldsmith / stamp: FROMENT-MEURICE Origin: France, Paris
WORK OF COLLABORATIVE COMPOSITION Émile Froment-Meurice was inspired for this centerpiece from the service of the Duke of Luynes made between 1846 and 1855 by his father on models by Feuchère, made by Doussamy and D'Honoré, but also that of the Duke of Medina Celi made in 1860. We also find similar elements on the table top of Napoleon III that he created in 1867 in collaboration with Emile François Carlier (1827-1879) whose putti were particularly prized for their "dynamism" by critics at the Universal Exhibition of 1867. FRENCH TASTE Émile François Carlier is Émile's closest collaborator. He probably joined the house on the advice of his master Jean-Jacques Feuchère (1807-1852) who also collaborated a lot with François-Désiré as another of his students, Jean-Baptiste-Jules Klagman (1810-1867). He undoubtedly retains from this training, the taste for the neoclassical and romantic style, but above all the need to preserve and promote what we will call “French taste” in reaction to the internationalization of the market. Indeed Feuchère was, in 1848, the initiator of a project to establish industrial art schools 1, one of the main objectives of which is the transmission of knowledge through courses, public conferences, exhibitions as well as the setting up of competitions. If the central union does not manage to establish a college of fine arts applied to industry, schools will nevertheless be opened for apprentices, established by the trade unions of these industries, including that for goldsmiths and jewelers placed under the direction of Émile Carlier and Félix Fossey, a decorative painter 2. The models used are borrowed from the traditions of decorative art established by the greatest French ornamentalists such as Meissonnier and made available by publications such as Matériaux and Decorative Art Documents published by Armand Guérinet. Carlier therefore maintains this decorative heritage which made the glory and reputation of French goldsmithing. THE CENTER TABLE: FUNCTION AND SOCIAL STATUS Froment-Meurice here creates a typical 19th century piece, which combines a rococo decoration dear to the 18th century and symptomatic of great French taste, with a fundamentally 19th century shape. Indeed, the centerpiece is the heir of the eighteenth century especially, central part of the table which was accompanied by soup tureens, gravy boats and various dishes. Its functional complexity and decorative richness make it almost a symbol of the success and social rank of its owner. After all, it is at the table, around a meal, that diplomacy, like business, is conducted and concluded. The centerpiece therefore remains a symbol of power now affordable for all in the 19th century.
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