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GILDING AFTER 1800

GILDING AFTER 1800



In the 19th century wrought-iron was primarily utilized for the production of domestic objects, particularly those for heating and cooking, and thus its use declined with the progressive rejection of open-hearth fires. At the beginning of the 20th century Héctor Guimard designed architectural ironwork in the Art Nouveau style (e.g. panel for a balcony, c. 1900; London, V&A), and several French glassmakers and potters used wrought-iron frames for goblets, lamps and chandeliers (examples in Paris, Mus. d'Orsay; Paris, Mus. A. Déc.). It was not until the 1930s, however, that there was a major revival of wrought-iron in decorative art, in the form of railings, staircases, tables, frames and lights. Edgar Brandt (1880-1960), who worked in Paris, designed a series of wrought-iron and tin-plate panels (c. 1922-8; London, V&A; Mus. London) in the Art Deco style for the lifts of Selfridges department store, London. Other notable ironworkers during the early to mid-20th century included Raymond Subes (1893-1970) and Gilbert Poillerat (1902-88).


The use of copper was restricted to kitchen utensils until the 1930s, when a number of French artists and designers, including JEAN DUNAND and Claudius Linossier (1893-1953), revived the traditional techniques of hammering and repoussé. They produced goblets, vases and dishes that often incorporate brass or silver inlay patterns in the Art Deco style (e.g. of 1925; Lyon, Mus. B.-A.; see fig. 84) and are sometimes patinated or lacquered. In the late 20th century such craftsmen as Maurice Perrier (b 1925) and Guy Lommé (b 1947) produced both traditional patinated vessels and anthropomorphic forms in copper.
The use of pewter, which had been superseded by that of ceramics in the 18th century, was revived from the beginning of the 19th century. The simple techniques and relatively low cost of manufacturing pewter enabled the production, mainly in Paris, of series of inexpensive sculptures and decorative objects (e.g. Paris, Mus. A. Déc.). The most notable craftsmen working in pewter in the late 19th century included Jules Brateau (1844-1923), Jules Desbois, Jean Baffier (1851-1921) and Raoul Larche. In the 1930s another traditional technique, pewter dinanderie, was used for numerous objects in the Art Deco style. Repoussé and hammering enabled the production of bold, unadorned forms. Apart from Dunand, other craftsmen using this technique included Maurice Daurat (1880-1960) and Jean Desprès (1889-1980).


In the Empire and Restoration periods there was a proliferation of decorative bronzework, often gilt, particularly for furniture. Among the most important works are those of PIERRE-PHILIPPE THOMIRE and Martin-Guillaume Biennais. Small bronze pieces in the form of animals became popular before the mid-19th century; towards the end of the century these were produced by such sculptors as Antoine-Louis Barye and Pierre-Jules Mène. Around 1900 the firms of Barbedienne, Susse Frères, Rudier and Siot-Decauville manufactured small, decorative bronze as well as pewter pieces after designs by Jean Baffier, Raoul Larche and many others. In the same period Guimard designed furniture fittings, such as handles, knobs and bell-buttons. Small bronze objects and decorative items continued to be produced during the Art Deco period by such craftsmen as Demeter Chiparus (1888-1950), known for his sculptures (Paris, Mus. d'Orsay; Paris, Mus. A. Déc.) that combine metals with ivory, and Armand-Albert Rateau (1882-1938), who is also justly famous for his original furniture creations in bronze (e.g. Paris, Mus. A. Déc.).

 


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