The European Decorative Arts Company offers extremely rare objects of gilt-bronze by the Parisian bronze founder, Ferdinand Barbedienne. Also represented are Champlevé enamel and bronze works by Nicholas-Germain Charpentier, Constant Sévin, and Désiré Attarge.
Our recent catalogue, titled "Objects for the Collector," in which Barbedienne objects from our collection were featured for the first time in our publication and includes extensive essays and references on the history of the firm and of the objects offered.
In-person viewing of our extensive collection can be arranged at our by-appointment-only showrooms.
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Pedestal by Nicholas-Germain Charpentier, circa 1867
Nicholas-Germain Charpentier (France, 1807-1864)
Patinated and gilded bronze, black marble
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The identical Neo-Grésc pedestal was exhibited by Charpentier et eie., at the Paris Universelle Exposition of 1867 (see fig. 7).' It was illustrated by the Art Journal that same year where they commented that "M. Charpentier is surpassed by none of his competitors in the fabrication of Works in Bronze. They are designed and modelled by eminent artists of France, and are finished with the nicest skill. He holds, consequently, the highest rank among the manufacturers of Paris."
Charpentier began making bronze mounts in Paris (rue d'Orléans au Marais) in 1834. He exhibited at the Exposition Nationale des Produits de l'agriculture et de l'industrie of 1849, where he was awarded a silver medal and later at the Paris International Exhibition of 1855 where he won a Médaille de première classe for his bronze casts of sculptures by Fratin, Buhaut and Moreau. He held various managerial posts at the Reunion des Fabricants de Bronze and at the London 1862 International Exhibtion he again received a First Classe Medal for a magnificent pair of torchères, also in the Neo-Gréc taste, after models by A.E. Carrier-Belleuse (The Minneapolis Institute of Arts). His firm was eventually bought out by Maison Lemerle, thereafter becoming known as Lemerle-Charpentier et Cie, as producer of different kinds of bronze objects (e.g. clocks and candelabras in the Louis XV and Louis XVI styles).
The Neo-Gréc style, a creation of the Second Empire in France, made its debut at the 1855 Paris exposition and was in full swing by the 1862 London exhibition. J.B. Waring was one of the first writers to use the term, which he described it as a style that is a "peculiar development of the Greek style which has distinguished the ornamental designs of France for the last few years [which is] called Neo-Gréc".' It was, in fact, a taste that combined both Greek and Roman ornament into an innovative style that in most instances would accentuate "antique" elements in a very angular and taut manner. The design of this pedestal is a fine example of the kind of reinterpreting of ancient objects that occurred, as it was most probably inspired by an ancient tripod table supported by three slender fauns that was found in a house in Pompeii that is presently in the National Archeological Museum in Naples (see fig. 8).
'The pedestal is also illustrated in Masterpieces of 19th-century Decorative Art,
2001, Pepin Press, p. 348.
-The Second Empire, Art in France under Napoleon III, exhibition cat., Philiadelphia Museum of Art, pp. 218-19.