Style Japonism, Chinoiserie / Ref.13700
Maison MARNYHAC (att. to) - Antique Chinese style firescreen in bronze, circa 1880
Width: 33'' ⅞ 86cm
Height: 31'' ⅞ 81cm
Depth: 13'' 33cm
France, 19th century
This firescreen is attributed to the Maison Marnyhac because of the the quality of the bronze and its beautiful perforated decoration, as well as the style of it, and was realized circa 1880.
Maison Marnyhac is the commercial name of a society of bronzes and furniture called Society of Marbles and Artistic Bronzes founded by Charles de Marnyhac and located in Paris Avenue de l’Opera before move to 1, rue de la Paix. She competed with the greatest workshopes of the time, Barbedienne in particular, and the quality of its productions was rewarded during the World Fairs of 1867 and 1878 where Maison Marnyhac won medals. Thanks to his fame, Charles de Marnyhac opened another shop in 1875 in London. The company was specialized in the creation of luxury art object and whose a part was imbued with the chinese and japonizing vogue. This attraction for chinoiseries begins in Europe as early as the 14th century and grows especially from the 18th century. Thanks to the eclecticism and the Orientalism during the nineteenth century, Chinese art still has a great success incited by the World expositions. It is during the one in 1867 that European artists have the opportunity to visit the Chinese and the Japanese pavilions that give a breath of fresh air to this exotic inspiration. From then on, painters, decorators and architects will create an eclectic wave, both Japanese-inspired and / or Chinese, which will satisfy the taste for the curiosities and the eccentricities of the 19th century.
« In summary, and I conclude on this appreciation of which I am ready to assume all the responsibility, the exhibition of the Maison Marnyhac clearly demonstrated to me that Paris has two Barbedienne, that is to say two art industrialists and the whole of Europe can not oppose other equals personalities. This demonstration was worth a medal of honor; what do you think? » Emile de Bergerat, Les Chefs d'oeuvre d'art à l'Exposition Universelle de 1878, Paris, L. Baschet, 1878, p, 188.
The open worked bronze frame of our firescreen reminds the motif of chinese scrolls. It rests on feet taking the shape of a dragon of which the scales are meticulously carved and the twisted body forms a reverse U. On the center a beautiful Foo dog was represented in a decor made of cherry tree branches. Its left paw rests on a decorated ball representing in the imperial contest the world supremacy.
Usually, represented in pair, the Foo dogs, also called Foo lions in the Occident, were traditionaly placed in front of the imperial Chinese palaces because of their protective powers.
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