CABINET AFTER A MODEL OF ANDRÉ-CHARLES BOULLE, BY HENRY DASSON, 1883 in
rosewood and light wood veneer, inlaid with reserve fillets and fleurons friezes. It opens to a leaf in the upper part and a drawer in the belt. Solid-bottomed tubular base joined together by a spacer shelf, supported by twisted spinning tops. Rich ornamentation of golden bronzes such as que : frieze of leafy eggs, acanthus leaves alternating with palm leaves, child blowers, reserve with in the center Louis XIV in Hercules, leafy claws, female masks, triglyphs, leafy ram's heads.
Signed Henry Dasson and dated 1883 on the central bronze reserve (Restoration of use
)A Henry Dasson rosewood and light wood veneered cabinet after a model by A.-C. Boulle, signed and dated 1883
. TOP. 181.5 CM - WIDTH 82.5 CM - DEPTH 47 CM - 71 1/2 X 32 1/2 X 32 1/2 X 18 1/2 IN.
The furniture production of the last quarter of XIXe siècle is characterized by a genre nouveau : copies of royal furniture or other masterpieces of the French XVIIIe siècle. The Parisian workshops run by Henry Dasson and Beurdeley, which are dedicated to both bronze and cabinet-making, working according to traditional principles, are the first great specialists. Fascinated by the excellence of the workshops of the Ancien Régime, their work as copyists can be seen as a demonstration of their talents, although these replicas are not always identical and often reveal a desire for personalization, if not perfection. The evolution of these two houses makes it possible to identify the decisive elements in the development of copying, leading to the reconstitution of the bronze master models, fundamental tools in the reproduction process. This new genre was thus motivated by the taste and trade in antique furniture and objects but also initiated by the fourth Marquis of Hertford who ordered a large set of copies. With IIIe République, the opening of the palaces to the public and the issuance of specific permits stimulate the making of copies. Nevertheless, these authorizations issued to manufacturers did not allow overmoulding and testify to the difficulty of this company. Exported and transposed, they themselves become models, universal symbols of French luxury
Originally trained as a "sculptor, bronzier", Henry Dasson had taken over Carl Dreschler's workshops in 1867 (died before 1873). This is certainly how he was able to recover master models of bronzes that had been used to make copies of the Marquis d'Hertford from casts made of prints (also known as stamping) taken with wax (or gelatin) on the originals. Of this production, we know in particular a chest of drawers made in 1881 after that of André-Charles Boulle kept at Petworth, and kept in a private collection that testifies to Dasson's desire to surpass himself. At the
1878 Universal Exhibition, Henry Dasson presented his own copy of the king's sensational
If he then chose to present a king's office, which he signed under the name of Riesener, it was to demonstrate that the quality of his work could rival that of the workshops at XVIIIe siècle, despite the abolition of corporations and the development of a "cheap" furniture industry. At the
time of industrial progress, there was a cult of the craftsmen of the Ancien Régime, who were set up as examples through their masterpieces.
This aspiration earned Henry Dasson flattering criticisms at the 1878 Exhibition: "This one is a return from XVIIIe siècle, he is some skillful artist of the time whose soul and taste, through a mysterious avatar, have entered into a new envelope. He has[...] the tradition of the school, the finesse of the tool, the harmony of the couleurs ; the secret of the gilding" (Falize 1878, p. 606).
In 1876, he moved to 106 rue Vieille-du-Temple as a "furniture manufacturer".
Our cabinet bears witness to the virtuosity of this cabinetmaker, both technically and at artistique ; this pretty piece of furniture made of rosewood and light wood veneer with a beautiful sobriety features a bronze ornamentation bearing the effigy of Louis XIV in Hercules, the common feature of which is none other than that appearing on the cabinet attributed to André-Charles Boulle dated 1690-1710 and kept in the Louvre Museum with some small nuances. It retains the original shape of the furniture and many similarities but adopts a veneer of rosewood and light wood instead of a marquetry called Boulle.
Mestdagh, Les copies à l'ère des premières Expositions universelles : the works of Dasson and Beurdeley, "un XVIIIe qui continue de vivre".