A Very Fine Pair of French 19th Century Louis XVI Style Gilt-Bronze Four-Light Wall Appliques (Wall lights - Wall sconces) after the model by Pierre Gouthière (French, 1732–1813) attributed to Henry Dasson (French, 1925-1896). One wall light inscribed to one side 'Henry Dasson 1879'. Circa: 19th Century
Height: 57 3/4 inches (146.7 cm)
Width: 14 3/4 inches (37.5 cm)
Depth: 7 1/4 inches (18.4 cm)
Henry Dasson (French, 1825–1896) was a renowned nineteenth century Parisian maker of gilt-bronze mounted furniture. Unlike other cabinetmakers of the time Dasson began his career as a bronze sculptor, and consequently one characteristic of his work is the quality of his bronze and more precisely of the chiselling.
His Paris workshop was situated at 106 rue Vieille-du-Temple, where he specialised in the production of Louis XIV, XV and XVI style furniture using the finest gilt-bronze mounts.
In 1871, he purchased the flourishing business and remaining stock of Charles-Guillaume Winckelsen, known for the high quality of his furniture. It has been suggested that Dasson inherited the craft of ciseleur from Winckelsen.
At the 1878 and 1889 Paris Expositions Universelles Dasson exhibited a number of pieces in the Louis XV and XVI styles, as well as pieces of his own modified eighteenth-century design. The exhibits in 1878 included a table entirely in gilt-bronze, purchased by Lord Dudley. His copy of the celebrated Bureau du Roi sold at the same exhibition to Lady Ashburton.
Dasson ceased production in 1894, and at this time held a sale of his models, listed in 'Catalogues of drawings for art bronzes, style furniture and important decoration with rights of reproduction by Henry Dasson et Cie, manufacturer of art bronzes and cabinetmaker as a result of cessation of production..' The records from this sale show that Paul Sormani, as well as Joseph Emmanuel Zweiner, Maison Millet and Beurdeley acquired certain drawings and models by Dasson.
Pierre Gouthière (1732–1813) was a French metal worker. He was born at Bar-sur-Aube and went to Paris at an early age as the pupil of Martin Cour.
During his brilliant career he executed a vast quantity of metal work of the utmost variety, the best of which was unsurpassed by any of his rivals in that great art period. It was long believed that he received many commissions for furniture from the court of Louis XVI, and especially from Marie Antoinette, but recent searches suggest that his work for the queen was confined to bronzes. Gouthière can, however, well bear this loss, nor will his reputation suffer should those critics ultimately be justified who believe that many of the furniture mounts attributed to him were from the hand of Thomire. But if he did not work for the court he unquestionably produced many of the most splendid belongings of the duc d'Aumont, the duchesse de Mazarin and Madame du Barry. Indeed the custom of the beautiful mistress of Louis XV brought about the financial ruin of the great artist, who accomplished more than any other man for the fame of her château of Louveciennes.
When the collection of the duc d'Aumont was sold by auction in Paris in 1782 so many objects niounted by Gouthière were bought for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette that it is not difficult to perceive the basis of the belief that they were actually made for the court. The duc's sale catalogue is, however, in existence, with the names of the purchasers and the prices realized. The auction was almost an apotheosis of Gouthière. The precious lacquer cabinets, the chandeliers and candelabra, the tables and cabinets in marquetry, the columns and vases in porphyry, jasper and choice marbles, the porcelains of China and Japan were nearly all mounted in bronze by him. More than fifty of these pieces bore Gouthière's signature.
The duc d'Aumont's cabinet represented the high-water mark of the chasers art, and the great prices which were paid for Gouthière's work at this sale are the most conclusive criterion of the value set upon his achievement in his own day. Thus Marie Antoinette paid 12,000 livres for a red jasper bowl or br~~le-parfums mounted by him, which was then already famous. Curiously enough it commanded only one-tenth of that price at the Fournier sale in 1831; but in 1865, when the marquis of Hertford bought it at the prince de Beauvais's sale, it fetched 31,900 francs. It is now in the Wallace Collection, which contains the finest and most representative gathering of Gouthière's undoubted work. The mounts of gilt bronze, cast and elaborately chased, show satyr's heads, from which hang festoons of vine leaves, while within the feet a serpent is coiled to spring.
A smaller cup is one of the treasures of the Louvre. There too is a bronze clock, signed by Gouthière, cizileur et doreur du Roy a Paris, dated 1771, with a river god, a water nymph symbolizing the Rhne and its tributary the Durance, and a female figure typifying the city of Avignon. Not all of Gouthière's work is of the highest quality, and much of what he executed was from the designs of others. At his best his delicacy, refinement and finish are exceedingly delightfulin his great moments he ranks with the highest alike as artist and as craftsman. The tone of soft dead gold which is found on some of his mounts he is believed to have invented, but indeed the gilding of all his superlative work possesses a remarkable quality. This charm of tone is admirably seen in the bronzes and candelabra which he executed for the chimney-piece of Marie Antoinette's boudoir at Fontainebleau.
He continued to embellish Louveciennes for Madame du Barry until the Revolution, and then the guillotine came for her and absolute ruin for him. When her property was seized she owed him 756,000 livres, of which he never received a sol, despite repeated applications to the administrators. "Réduit a solliciter une place à l'hospice, il mourut dans la misére." So it was stated in a lawsuit brought by his sons against du Barry's heirs.
Literature & Biography
H. Ottomeyer & P. Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, Munich, 1986, Vol. I, p.425
Mestdagh, Camille; Lécoules, Pierre (2010). L'Ameublement d'art français: 1850–1900. Editions de l'Amateur.
Ledoux-Lebard, Denise (1984). Les Ebenistes du XIXeme siècle. pp. 146–151
Meyer, Jonathan (2006). Great Exhibitions—London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851–1900. Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club. p. 269, pls. H7, H8, H10: p. 270, pl, H12.