Empire furniture

On 24 September 2019, by Etienne Rey

A style described by Gustave Flaubert as "imposing and diplomatic" in L’Éducation sentimentale.

€212,500
F.-H.-G. Jacob-Desmalter, after a model by J.-L. David, armchair from the studio of the artist Jacques-Louis David in mahogany, painted gilt wood, ebony and beaten iron, Paris ca. 1786-1789.
Paris, 2 December 2013. Kohn Marc-Arthur auction house.

The imperial bed, cheval glass and tripod pedestal table were all new elements in the grammar shaping the vocabulary of Empire furniture. A style marked by a more deliberately "antique feel than previously," says Pierre Verlet in his book on French 18th century furniture. This was seen from the revolutionary period onwards in various pieces designed by Jacques-Louis David, like a mahogany veneer armchair from the painters' studio, made by Jacob in around 1786-1789, which fetched €212,500 at the sale by Marc-Arthur Kohn. Particularly liked by Flaubert – whose niece described his small drawing room as "furnished with mahogany and red cloth Empire furniture" –, the style has remained highly popular with auction houses. 

The Empire enabled craftsmen to produce luxury pieces again, according to the dealer Christophe de Quénetain.
€257,600F.-H.-G. Jacob-Desmalter, after drawings by C. Percier., rocking cradle in elm burr veneer richly decorated with chased gilt bronz

€257,600
F.-H.-G. Jacob-Desmalter,
after drawings by C. Percier., rocking cradle in elm burr veneer richly decorated with chased gilt bronze mountings, Paris, ca. 1811. Fontainebleau, 16 November 2014. Osenat auction house & Binoche and Giquello auction house.

€73,750F.-H.-G. Jacob-Desmalter, tripod pedestal table with white marble top standing on a triangular central shaft in wood and gilt stucc

€73,750
F.-H.-G. Jacob-Desmalter,
tripod pedestal table with white marble top standing on a triangular central shaft in wood and gilt stucco, Paris, Empire period. Paris, Drouot, 27 June 2014, Baron Ribeyre & Associés auction house.

€206,118Jacob Frères, tripod in arborvitae burr veneer forming a perfume pot-pourri, three retractable drawers, chased gilt bronze mountin

€206,118
Jacob Frères,
tripod in arborvitae burr veneer forming a perfume pot-pourri, three retractable drawers, chased gilt bronze mounting, Paris, marked "no. 439", 1811. Paris, Drouot, 28 November 2012. Coutau-Bégarie auction house.


€156,250Attributed to F.-H.-G. Jacob-Desmalter, large Maréchal flat desk in mahogany wood and veneering, base with lyre motifs, bronze mou

€156,250
Attributed to F.-H.-G.
Jacob-Desmalter, large Maréchal flat desk in mahogany wood and veneering, base with lyre motifs, bronze mountings attributed to Thomire, Paris, Empire period.
Paris, Drouot, 13 June 2014. FL Auction auction house.

€125,000M.-G. Biennais, silversmith to the Emperor, octagonal cheval glass with two quiver-shaped uprights, unit in ash burr veneering wit

€125,000
M.-G. Biennais,
silversmith to the Emperor, octagonal cheval glass with two quiver-shaped uprights, unit in ash burr veneering with rich bronze decoration, Paris, ca. 1804. Fontainebleau, 19 November 2017. Osenat auction house.

€ 8,294Pair of occasional oak benches with intarsia decoration of fillets and stars in ebony and scroll shaped handles, Paris, first third

€ 8,294
Pair of occasional oak benches with intarsia decoration of fillets and stars in ebony and scroll shaped handles, Paris, first third of 19th century. Paris, Drouot, 6 June 2018. Thierry de Maigret auction house.

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