An Exceptional and Rare Late 19th Century Gilt Bronze Mounted Louis XV Style Bureau Plat Attributed to Zwiener
Item # VB53
Attributed to Joseph Zwiener
The serpentine case with a rectangular top with gilt-tooled leather writing-surface within a molded border above a quarter-veneered frieze, three drawers to the front and three simulated drawers to the reverse each flanked by a large putto, the sides centered with a fine bronze Apollo mask, the cabriole legs mounted with sea shell bronze designs with foliate-cast sabots.
Born in Herdon, Germany, in 1849, Joseph Emmanuel Zwiener followed the tradition of some of the best ébnistes of the nineteenth century. He moved to Paris establishing a workshop at 12, rue de la Roquette, between 1880 and 1895. He produced a wide array of the very finest furniture, modelling in his own interpretations of the eighteenth century Louis XV Rococo style, veneered with the highest and finest quality marquetry and ‘Vernis Martin’ panels. Exhibiting at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, in 1889, Zwiener was awarded a gold medal for what the jury reported as ‘dè ses dèbuts à une Exposition Universelle, [il] s’est mi au premier rang par la richesse, la hardinesse, et le fini de ses meubles incrustés de bronze et fort habilment marquetés.’
Zwiener was closely associated with François Linke, and the two houses produced work which, at first glance, is remarkably similar and with occasionally identical mounts. The similarities are made more likely by the fact that the brilliant sculptor, Léon Messagé, worked initially for Zwiener and subsequently, upon Zwiener’s departure for Berlin to work on furniture commissioned by Freidrich Wilhelm II , he was employed in the workshop of François Linke. It appears that Zwiener, unlike Linke, did not sign all his work, although some stamped pieces with his name and/or his “Z” initial are documented. There is some uncertainty between the recorded stamp E. Zwiener and the work of a Julius Zwiener, a Berlin cabinetmaker who made furniture in a very similar style, most notably for the above mentioned Freidrich Wilhelm II. Research suggests however, that the German born Joseph-Emmanuel Zwiener, based in Paris from 1880-1895 and Julius Zwiener, recorded in Berlin after 1895, are probably one and the same. Since the eighteenth century, it had been a common practice for foreign cabinetmakers to gallicise their names whenever they worked in France.
Height – 31 inches / 79cm
Width – 80 inches / 203cm
Depth – 40.5 inches / 103cm