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Lot n° 33

FRANCESC VIDAL JEVELLÍ, (Barcelona, 1848 - 1914). Dish...

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FRANCESC VIDAL JEVELLÍ, (Barcelona, 1848 - 1914). Dish in cloisonné enamel bronze and Tiffany glass beads, 1885-1890. With stamp on the back. Measurements: 69,5 cm diameter. Spectacular circular plate made in bronze and decorated with cloisonné enamel and thousands of Tiffany glass beads. The pieces of Tiffany glass were glued one by one to make the drawing, in this case the eagle. This piece was made in the Vidal and Jevelli workshops between 1885-1890, at the end of the Alfonsine period and the beginning of Spanish Modernism. These pieces are unique due to the great complexity of their execution. In European Art Nouveau only Morris in the United Kingdom made some furniture using this technique. The plate is decorated in a synthetic and expressive style, combining the ornamental and sinuous taste of Art Nouveau with a certain medieval character typical of the period. On the seat is an imperial eagle resting on a branch, which is evidence of a certain Japanese influence, also a constant feature of the Art Nouveau period. The colours of the seat are varied, cheerful and contrasting, combining orange, pink and gold tones against a blue background. This central scene is framed by a border consisting of two bands, clearly delimited by two narrower lines that alternate shades of maroon and violet. The inner, narrower band is decorated with a border of synthetic, typically Art Nouveau, counterpointed leaves on a gold background. The outer band has a more complex border, based on the repetition of a strictly symmetrical synthesised plant motif in shades of violet and green on the gold background that unifies the eaves. Francesc Vidal was one of the most prominent decorative artists in the city of Barcelona in the late 19th century, being one of the first professionals to promote craftsmanship within the nascent Catalan aestheticism and modernism. One of the key events in understanding his personality and his innovative character was his stay at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1867, where he travelled to direct the exhibition of his father's bookbinding samples. In addition to witnessing the birth of Japonisme in the French capital, Vidal made contact with other young artists and stayed in the city to study at the Ecole des Arts Décoratifs, where his teacher was Louvrier de Lajolais. From Paris he also made a series of trips around Europe that enabled him to become acquainted with the artistic practices that were being promoted in the great capitals of the continent. He finally returned to Barcelona with the desire to modernise and Europeanise a city that was still too tied to tradition, introducing novelties such as the Japanese influence in interior decoration and the decorative arts. In 1878 he established himself as an art dealer, and in 1883 he inaugurated a building designed by Vilaseca, an unusual polytechnic complex, where he would work intensively from then on in the production of quality furniture, as well as glassware, metalwork and foundry complements. Rigalt and Masriera collaborated in his studio in the foundry, and Joan González, Gaspar Homar and Santiago Marco worked as designers. Vidal's clientele included the gentry and official corporations, and he made the furniture designed by Gaudí for the Güell Palace. He was also in charge of other important projects such as the decoration of Mayor Rius i Taulet, several rooms of the Círculo del Liceo and also royal commissions such as the bedrooms of the Royal Palace in Madrid and the cradle for the future Alfonso XIII. In fact, his works were in demand not only on the Peninsula, but also in America, which led Vidal to expand his business by forming a partnership with Frederic Masriera Manovens, and later to open shops in Madrid and Paris. Works by Francesc Vidal are currently housed in the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya and the Museu Nacional d'Arts Deco.

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