A magnificent and monumental pair of Louis XVI style gilt and patinated bronze figural nineteen light candelabra <br>Louis-Auguste-Alfred Beurdeley (1808-1882)<br>fourth quarter 19th century
Lot 1266W
Property from the California Historical Society
A magnificent and monumental pair of Louis XVI style gilt and patinated bronze figural nineteen light candelabra emblematic of "War" and "Peace"
Louis-Auguste Alfred Beurdeley (1808-1883)
Paris, circa 1860
Sold for US$ 338,500 inc. premium
Lot Details
Property from the California Historical Society
A magnificent and monumental pair of Louis XVI style gilt and patinated bronze figural nineteen light candelabra emblematic of "War" and "Peace"
Louis-Auguste Alfred Beurdeley (1808-1883)
Paris, circa 1860
The first allegorical of War modeled as two putti flanking shield emblazoned with Apollo's mask, seated beneath military trophy; the second allegorical of Peace with two putti, one holding sheaf of wheat and sickle with plow below, the other raising floral cornucopia beneath musical trophy, each before leaf standard issuing leafy bouquet terminating in berried leaf wax pans and vasiform cups, internally incised BY.
height 67in (170cm); greatest diameter 35in (89cm)


  • The Beurdeley dynasty of exceptional furniture dealers and makers began in 1807 when Jean Beurdeley (1772-1853) established a business as a marchand de curiosites in Paris. After receiving a fortuitous inheritance, he purchased the 18th century Pavillon de Hanovre on Boulevard des Italiens originally built for the Marechal de Richelieu. His son Louis-Auguste (1808-1883) succeeded him and developed a reputation for acquiring and selling the very best French furniture and objets d'art in Paris. He then began producing his own furniture and founded the famous Beurdeley workshop. He became one of the most successful dealers in Paris and married a wealthy New Orleans widow, Constance Virginie Fleytas in 1852.

    Louis-Auguste Alfred flourished both as a dealer and an ebeniste and received medals in the Paris Great Exhibitions of 1855 and 1867. He was referred to as "the favorite of the aristocracy". He provided furnishings for the Chateau de Chantilly for the Duc d'Aumale and the trousseau chest for the Empress Eugenie upon her marriage to Napoleon III. He also provided furniture for the Tuilleries Palace. In the inventory executed in 1861 after Mme. Beurdeley's death, clients listed included the Comte de Choiseul-Praslin, Marquis de Parlin, Prince de Beauvau, Comte de Breteuil and Sir Richard Wallace. Members of the Rothschild family were often his clients. Louis's son Emmanuel took over the business in 1875 further expanding the Beurdeley workshops and creating some of the most beautiful furniture of the fourth quarter of the 19th century.

    The model for these candelabra can be seen in an old photograph from the Beurdeley workshop (see illustration). The model bears the index number "8" (probably in reference to the day book) and some descriptive inscriptions are added onto the photograph: "19 lumieres (...); les enfants sont en bronze le reste dore. 19 lights (...); the putti in bronze the rest gilded. The candelabra are titled: Guerre et Paix and the size is indicated as 1m70, all the elements correspond to the offered examples.

    A pair of identical candelabra, possibly these, were offered in an auction on April 19-22nd, 1898 in Paris advertised as: "vente de modeles pour bronzes d'art, meubles de style et de grande decoration provenant de la maison A. Beurdeley". The candelabra are listed as lot 1331 and described as follows: "Grande torchere Renaissance, Enfants Paix et Guerre. Bouquet 18[?] lumieres. Partie et contre-partie."

    The offered pair of candelabra were once installed at the foot of the grand marble staircase in the lobby of the opulent Fox Theatre in San Francisco (see image). The Fox Theatre opened in 1929 and was the second largest and most opulent "movie palace" built in North America, commissioned by William Fox, owner of Fox Films. It cost $5,000,000 to build. The candelabra were purchased in Paris in 1928 by his wife Eve Leo Fox who was acting as interior designer for her husband and spent two years traveling throughout Europe purchasing antiques for the extravagant Fox theatres. The Fox Theatre in San Francisco was demolished in 1963 due to "urban renewal" and a dispersal sale was held prior to the demolition. These candelabra are being sold to benefit the California Historical Society.

    We wish to extend our appreciation to Camille Mestdagh, author of L'Ameublement d'art francais 1850-1900 for her research and information provided for these candelabra and Louis-Auguste Alfred Beurdeley.
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  1. Jeffrey Smith
    Specialist - European Furniture and Works of Art
    220 San Bruno Avenue
    San Francisco, United States 94103
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