Style Japonism, Chinoiserie / Ref.13629
Louis MAJORELLE (attr.to), Tea table with a Vernis Martin decoration, circa 1880-1890
Width: 33'' ½ 85cm
Height: 32'' ¼ 82cm
Depth: 22'' ½ 57cm
France, 19th century
Showing a classical shape for this type of saloon furnishings, the great originality of this table is in its decoration, made out of Vernis Martin. This technic was invented in the 18th century by the Martin brothers, who wanted to imitate the Japanese and Chinese lacquers, at a time when these were really rare in Occident. After a relative disinterest during the first half of the 19th century, the technic went fashionable again, with the advent of the Far East trend and the furniture by Louis Majorelle (1859-1926). Apart from the lacquer, the decorative patterns adorning the two boards are alluding to the Chinese and Japanese repertoire : on the upper board, a bird is taking off holding in its beak an insect in a lake background with reeds and beautiful flowers. The lower board is decorated in the same spirit, with also a lake background in which we can see a flying wader with a tit.
Louis Majorelle was born in 1859. At this time, his father was already a ceramicist and a maker for lacquered furniture. His business consisted in adorning furniture in the technic of Vernis Martin and to inspire himself from Far East motifs. The masterpiece by Auguste Majorelle is a grand piano, now owned by the Musée de l’Ecole in Nancy. Made by the Mangeot Company from Nancy, this grand piano was exhibited at the 1878 World’s Fair. Auguste Majorelle died soon after, and his son, Louis, perpetuated his work, creating lacquered, Japanese-inspired furniture, some exhibited at the 1889 World’s Fair.
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