A fine Louis XV style gilt bronze mounted marquetry inlaid kingwood vitrine cabinet Emmanuelle Zwiener fourth quarter 19th century
Stamped on the edge of the door above the lockplate E ZWIENER, the interior fitted with two drawers and three glass shelves. height 97in (246.5cm); width 52 3/4in (134cm); depth 22in (56cm)
Born in Silesia, Joseph Emmanuel Zwiener established a business in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine section of Paris in 1882, in the former premises of Jean-Baptiste Béfort, known as "Béfort Aîné." He was active until 1895, when Jean-Henri Jansen purchased his stock and continued his business under the name of Zwiener Jansen Successeur. Zwiener then most likely moved to Berlin where he continued to work, creating a bedroom suite for Emperor Wilhelm II, and exhibiting in the German section of the 1900 Exposition universelle in Paris under the name Julius Zwiener.
Zwiener was among the first cabinetmakers in France to collaborate with the sculptor Léon Messagé. They began working together circa 1880, and Messagé's influence added a distinctly Art Nouveau tone to Zwiener's work, which would later be taken to its apogee by François Linke. The unusual bronzes of the present vitrine - determinedly asymmetrical and with daring, flame-like coronas - are most certainly the fruit of this collaboration.
His unique style won Zwiener the gold medal at the 1882 exhibition of the Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. One of the judges, René Ménard, remarked that "If Mr. Zwiener had limited himself to literal reproductions, he wouldn't have attracted the attention of the jury so strongly. But alongside his very skillful copies, he has shown us works inspired by his own imagination."
Literature: Camille Mestdagh, L'Ameublement d'art français 1850-1900, Les Editions de l'Amateur, 2010, p. 19; pp. 163-64.
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