A Very Fine Early 20th Century Louis XV Style Gilt Bronze Mounted Three Leg Grand Erard Piano By François Linke
Item # CC1090
Beautiful quarter veneered case inlaid with cartouche panels surmounted by a hinged lid, with great quality pierced foliate bronze mounts running down each leg, finishing off with lion paw feet.
Signed F. Linke to the bronze clasp on the side leg, The movement stamped with Erard serial number 97037 and patent stamps, the interior of the case further stamped F. TURBEC/A LEMOINE.
Erard is the oldest and most prestigious French piano manufacturer. The firm was founded by Sebastian Erard who built his first piano in 1777 in Paris. Erard’s fame spread and royal commissions followed for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. This, however, was not a plus for Erard during the French Revolution. He was obliged to leave the country and he relocated to London where he set up operations in 1792. He later returned to Paris and began production there as well, only to suffer restrictions due to the Napoleonic Wars.
Pierre Erard, Sebastian’s nephew, took charge of the business in 1834. Instruments were manufactured in London until 1890 while production continues in France today. Erard merged with Gaveau in 1959. Throughout its long history, Erard has been acclaimed for pianos of the highest quality. Erard pianos were favored by Haydn, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Liszt, and of course, Paderewski.
Linke was born in Pankraz in Bohemia and was celebrated by the French as one of the greatest ébénistes of meubles de style at the turn of the century. He began his apprenticeship with a Bohemian master at the age of thirteen. Four years later, he toured Austria, settling and working in Vienna for two years. Linke arrived in Paris in 1875, and by 1881 he had established his own small workshop at 170 rue du Faubourg St. Antoine. Taking 18th century styles as his starting point and adapting earlier styles to contemporary taste, Linke produced fine quality furniture, steadily expanding his business during the next 20 years. He firmly established his reputation after receiving a gold medal at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900 for his extraordinary Grand Bureau. He continued to use international fairs as a means of exploring new markets, exhibiting at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis, the Liege in Belgium and the 1908 Franco-British exhibition in London. Linke’s highly original designs sprang from the Régence and Rococo styles but were imbued with something quite new – Rococo curves were laden with gilt-bronze sculptural mounts in the tradition of A.-C. Boulle (1642-1732) or Charles Cressent (1685-1758). Stylistically, the new designs still adhered to the Rococo; the novelty, however, was Linke’s fusion of the Rococo with the liveliness and the fluidity of the ‘art nouveau’. The Revue called Linke’s creations entierement nouveau, and continued to say that ‘Linke’s stand is the biggest show in the history of art furniture in the year 1900…’ The mounts, or rather sculpture, were characteristic of the finest pieces from the Linke workshops. The most original designs were almost certainly created in collaboration with the enigmatic sculptor Léon Messagé, who excelled in creating lively, high relief, allegorical figures recalling the styles of Boucher and Falconet.
Today, as in the past, Linke is best known for the exceptionally high quality of his work, as well as his individualism and inventiveness. All of his work has the finest, most lavish mounts. The technical brilliance of his work and the artistic change that it represented has never been repeated.
Height – 40.5 inches / 103cm
Width – 58 inches / 147cm
Depth – 76 inches / 193cm