Style Japonism, Chinoiserie / Ref.12792
Gabriel VIARDOT, Shelving unit with dragon decoration and mother of pearl marquetry, circa 1880-1890
Width: 47'' ¼ 120cm
Height: 77'' ½ 197cm
Depth: 17'' ¾ 45cm
This Japanese shelving unit was made of tainted sycamore by the French furniture maker Gabriel Viardot (1830-1906) in the last decades of the 19th century as indicates the signature "G. VIARDOT" on one of the feet.
It's during the 1867 World Fairn where he discovered the Japanese Art, the Gabriel Viardot decided to devote himself to “Chinese-Japanese style furniture”. It’s with this production that he was awarded a silver medal at the World's Fair of 1878. His furniture was produced thanks to lacquered and carved panels sent directly from China or Japan and decorated with mother of pearl inlays from Tonkin. He enlivened his furniture with bronze decorations, of which he made all the designs by hand. In 1885, he participated in the World Exhibition of Antwerp where he obtained a gold medal. At this time, the shop employed 90 – 100 workers, sculptors or cabinetmakers, a lot of who were educated directly by Gabriel Viardot. Following this exhibition, Gabriel Viardot was promoted to the rank of Knight in the Legion of Honor (December 29 1885). In 1889, he was at the World Exhibition that took place in Paris and awarded a gold medal. He obtained the same award at the World's Fair of 1900.
The furniture maker creates here an asymetrical shelving unit of which the shape and decoration are inspired by the Far-East esthetic. The top of the furniture reminds indeed of the pagoda roof, while we find here and there the dragon motif in polished varnished bronze and the geometric scrolls decoration. On each of the three doors, Gabriel Viardot chose to inlay a decor made of Tonkin mother of pearls. We can especially see on the superior door, an exceptional reproduction of a typical village, or a branch of cherry tree with flowers on one of the lower door. The detail precision goes to the sides of the furniture which present an elegant chiseled decoration depicting bamboo leaves.
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