Style Japonism, Chinoiserie / Ref.11349
Gabriel VIARDOT (attributed to) - Japanese style cupboard with dragon
Width: 20'' ⅞ 53cm
Height: 54'' ⅜ 138cm
Depth: 13'' ⅜ 34cm
France, late 19th century
This small walnut cabinet is attributed to Gabriel Viardot. The decor is quite characteristic of the production of this Parisian cabinetmaker specializing in Japanese and Chinese-style furniture.
The lower part consists of multiple vertical boxes surmounted by three shelves. The upper part of this piece is decorated with latticed wood in the tradition of Japanese furniture. A gilded bronze dragon crowning this cupboard is entirely characteristic of the production of Gabriel Viardot. The vertical uprights are also decorated with gilded bronze elements that we can also find on other productions by Gabriel Viardot.
Gabriel Viardot started his wood-sculpting career in 1849, when he sent some furniture pieces in natural décor to the horticultural exhibition. He then became the head of a small team of sculptors when he was just 19 years old. In 1853, he had a factory and a store of furniture located at 36 and 38 Rambuteau Road. During this time, he worked with his brother, Louis Gustave, under the name “Viardot Brothers and Company.” In 1860, he created his own workshop, “G. Viardot” at 5 Grand-Chantier road, and became head of the family business that he kept until 1872. He decided to devote himself to “Chinese-Japanese style furniture,” which he was able to observe mainly at the 1867 World Exposition. At this same exposition, he was awarded four medals. It’s with this production that he was awarded at the 1878 World Exposition with a silver medal. Following that, he practiced consecutively at 15 Chaume road, 3 Archives road in 1878 and 36 Amelot road near the end of the century. 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. Over the course of the years, the success only continued to grow, particularly at the expositions of Nice and the 8th exposition of the Central Union of Decorative Arts in 1884. In 1885, he participated in the World Exposition 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 exposition, he was promoted to the rank of Knight in the Legion of Honor (December 29 1885). In 1889, he was at the World Exposition that took place in Paris and awarded a gold medal. He obtained the same award at the 1900 World Exposition.
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