A Renaissance Revival parcel gilt pâte-sur-pâte, pietre dure and bronze mounted ebonized cabinet
Lot 3072W
A Renaissance Revival parcel gilt pâte-sur-pâte, pietre dure and bronze mounted ebonized cabinet
Sold for US$ 29,375 inc. premium

Lot Details
A Renaissance Revival parcel gilt pâte-sur-pâte, pietre dure and bronze mounted ebonized cabinet A Renaissance Revival parcel gilt pâte-sur-pâte, pietre dure and bronze mounted ebonized cabinet A Renaissance Revival parcel gilt pâte-sur-pâte, pietre dure and bronze mounted ebonized cabinet A Renaissance Revival parcel gilt pâte-sur-pâte, pietre dure and bronze mounted ebonized cabinet
A Renaissance Revival parcel gilt pâte-sur-pâte, pietre dure and bronze mounted ebonized cabinet
Attributed to Herter Brothers
Sèvres plaque decorated by Marc Louis Solon
New York City
Circa 1870

Of demilune form with rectangular outset front corners, surmounted by a later associated beige marble top above a paneled frieze mounted with floral pietre dure plaques and a central frieze drawer above an incised and inlaid cupboard door centering a circular pâte sur pâte plaque depicting diaphanously clad maidens attending to a cauldron of cherubs, signed Miles, flanked by coved cabinet doors mounted with rectangular bronze relief plaques of water bearing nymphs, after Jean Goujon's Fountain des Innocents, inscribed F. BARBEDIENNE, raised on a conforming outstepped plinth.
Height 42in (1.07m); width 5ft 1in (1.55m); depth 20in (51cm)

Footnotes

  • This cabinet’s simple yoke shaped pulls, each suspended from a round knob, are illustrated in “Appendix 3” of Katherine S. Howe, Alice Cooney Frelinghuysen and Catherine Hoover Voorsanger, Herter Brothers: Furniture and Interiors for a Gilded Age (Houston: Abrams, 1994), page 224. The authors find that in spite of its simplicity, this pull is often found on some of the most elaborate Herter Brothers case pieces.

    The incorporation of Italian pietre dure, Sèvres pâte-sur-pâte and Barbedienne bronze reliefs as decorative elements on this cabinet illustrates the Herter Brothers’s pursuit and use of the finest European ornaments in their furniture. As highly sought after cabinetmakers and interior designers for wealthy American cosmopolitans, they were leading proponents and disseminators of an International high style.

    The Herter Brothers received a shipment of pietre dure panels, described as “Florentine mosaics,” in 1869, imported from Italy aboard the steamer Minnesota. The Port of New York tax collector classified them for use in jewelry and taxed them at 50%, prompting a protest from the firm that they were not for jewelry and that “no more such goods will be sent them for some years.” Few known Herter pieces with these panels exist.

    The spectacular 13 inch (33cm) pâte-sur-pâte plaque on this cabinet bears the pseudonym Miles, used by preeminent porcelain artist Marc Louis Solon during his Sèvres work in France, prior to his emigration to Minton in 1870. Using up to 30 or 40 layers of clay for his best work, Solon was, and still is, well regarded as a creative and technical genius. As seen here, Solon’s subject matter is invariably devoted to a stylized battle of love, depicting scenarios of maidens and cupids that are at once humorous and torturous.

    The collaboration between Gustave Herter and Ferdinand Barbedienne (1810-1892) is first documented in 1867, when Barbedienne executed an elaborate Italian Renaissance oxidized silver, bronze, niello and ivory clock designed by Herter. Christian Herter continued the relationship, using Barbedienne bronzework cast by the Barbedienne foundry for figural bronzes in Milton Latham’s Thurlow Lodge in Menlo Park, California, and as ornaments for furniture made for William H. Vanderbilt’s home on Fifth Avenue in New York.
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