Alfred Emmanuel Beurdeley,Exceptional mantel made in Sarrancolin marble and gilt bronze for Cornelius II Vanderbilt, 1893 (Ref.3800)
This Louis XV style chimney in Sarrancolin marble adorned with gilt bronze was realized by Alfred Emmanuel Beurdeley (1847-1919). It shows two putti sat in the shelf's angles, each holding in their hands a candelabra with five light arms spurting from a horn of plenty.
The same model of our chimney was exhibited during the International Exhibition of Chicago in 1893, on Alfred Emmanuel Beurdeley's stand. A journalist from the Gazette des Beaux-Arts talked about it in these words : "Il nous serait difficile de ne pas parler (...) de la splendide exposition de M. Beurdeley qui a envoyé à Chicago un véritable musée. C'est avec intention que nous nous servons de ce mot, car tout ce qu'il expose est œuvre d'art." (It would be difficult not to talk (…) about the splendid exhibition of Mr. Beurdeley who sent to Chicago a real museum. It's willingly that we use this word because everything that he exhibits is a work of art). In his not complete list of present works of art, the journalist talks about a Louis XVI chimney made for a very rich American citizen.
The very rich American citizen the journalist is talking about is Cornelius Vanderbilt II (1843 – 1899), an American business man and socialite. His grand father, Cornelius Vanderbilt (1794 – 1877) had the will to enrich himself and for that created, at the beginning of the 19th century, a company of ferries and railroads. Further more, it's him who created Grand Central station in New York and to him that the reputation and importance of the Vanderbilt family in the American history is due. Cornelius II Vanderbilt, his favorite grandson, followed his grand father steps and became CEO of the New York Central Railroad in 1885, the New York Central & Hudson River and the N.Y. & Harlem, Michigan Central. He also helped to establish the Vanderbilt Clinic and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York.
It's around 1894 that our chimney was incorporated in Cornelius Vanderbilt II's mansion in New York where it adorns the Grand Salon. Located at the angle of the 5th avenue and the 57th Street, it's the biggest private house ever built in the city. It was destroyed in 1927 to leave room for the Bergdorf Goodman Department Store.
The Beurdeley family is one of the most important furniture makers dynasty in the 19th century. Alfred Emmanuel Louis Beurdeley (1847-1919) was Louis Auguste Alfred's son (1808 – 1882), his partner ans then successor in 1875. He kept the store at the angle of the rue Louis-le-Grand and boulevard des Italiens - the famous Pavillon de Hanovre - and had his atelier at the 20 and 24 rue Dautancourt. He specialized the production in the making of luxury furniture copied from old models kept in the Mobilier National and also created some original furniture. He participated in the International Exhibition in 1878 in Paris and received the gold medal. Next, he became Chevalier de la légion d'honneur thanks to his participation in the International Exhibition of Amsterdam in 1883. He practiced until 1895 then sold his enterprise and his collection composed of more than 2000 pieces.
As show the photographies of the mansion's two salons kept in the New York Historical Society, Cornelius Vanderbilt II used to work with the most important French furniture makers from the 19th century. Indeed Alfred Emmanuel Beurdeley also realized for the business man a replica of Georges Jacob pair of console tables made for the comte d'Artois and a replica of Marie-Antoinette's table.
Bibliography : C. Mestagh, L'ameublement d'art Français, 1850-1900, Paris, 2010, p.128-129.
M. Kathrens, Great Houses of New York : 1880-1930, New York, 2005, pp. 38-4
Price: on request
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