The Biennale 2012 Confirms its Trend in Decorative Arts

1. Circle of Benedetto Briosco (active around 1483-1517)
Portrait of Ludovico Maria Sforza, called Le More, c. 1500
Marble - Diameter : 55 cm
Paris, galerie Sismann
Photo : galerie Sismann

18/9/12 - Art market - Paris - The 2012 edition of the Biennale des Antiquaires is, as usual, generally dominated by furniture and art objects. Many beautiful stands also present non-Western antiques or arts which do not fall into our field of study here as is the case for jewelry (too much of it in our opinion) displayed throughout the nave of the Grand Palais, instead of being concentrated in one spot like before.

Although few in number, old master paintings are however available, at Aaron’s for instance, one of the stand’s strong points, but also at specialized dealers such as Giovanni Sarti, Moretti Fine Arts and Roebilant+Voena. We should also point out that in the Salon d’Honneur on the first floor overlooking the nave, there are several newer galleries displaying paintings or sculptures which are often quite interesting. Among several old masters of fine quality (including a magnificent Jan Cossiers), Philippe Mendès presents a canvas by an Italian Divisionist artist, famous in his country though relatively unknown in France, Plinio Nomellini. At the Alexis Bordes stand, visitors will admire a superb folding screen with "fixed leaves under glass enhanced with gold and silver leaf", by Paule Ingrand, as well as a terracotta woman’s bust by Carrier-Belleuse, to be acquired by a French museum. A very recent gallery, F. Baulme Fine Arts is also offering several high quality old masters. Finally, for sculptures, we would point out the Sismann gallery where a severe but beautiful portrait of Ludovico Maria Sforza, known as Il Moro, dates back to the Italian Renaissance (ill. 1).
For old furniture, several prestigious galleries such as François Léage or Aveline display very beautiful 17th and 18th century objects while at Kraemer & Cie. we noticed a monographic exhibition on Jean-Henri Riesener, the cabinet maker, with notably a superb chest of drawers from the Transition period (ill. 2).

2. Jean-Henri Riesener (1734-1806)
Chest of Drawers, c. 1770
Paris, Maison Kraemer
Photo : Maison Kraemer

3. Michel-Louis Pioche (1764- ?)
Milon de Crotone, 1807
Terracotta - 34 x 40 x 30.5 cm
Paris, galerie Patrice Bellanger
Photo : galerie Patrice Bellanger

Finally, we would like to focus on a few objects from the 19th century, well represented this year at the Biennale. The beginning of this period offers a terracotta representation of Milon de Crotone (ill. 3), a subject often treated by sculptors since Pierre Puget. This sculpture is exhibited, along with many others, on Patrice Bellanger’s beautiful stand.

4. François-Désiré Froment-Meurice (1802-1855)
Bowl, 1849
Silver and Vermeil - 29 x 27 cm ; weight : 1.38 kg
Paris, galerie Chadelaud
Photo : galerie Chadelaud

5. Jean-François Denière (1774-1866)
Clock with a Figure of Philosophy, c. 1845
Bronze - 81 x 43 x 26 cm
Paris, galerie Aaron
Photo : galerie Aaron

We then skip over several decades arriving mid-century with a neo-Gothic silver and vermeil bowl by François-Désiré Froment-Meurice (ill. 4) at the Chadelaud gallery which also presents some extravagant "fin de siècle" furniture such as the spectacular and unique Bahut Marine [Sea Chest] by François Linke. At the Aaron Gallery, a Louis-Philippe clock with a figure of Philosophy (ill. 5) reminds us of this ornamental use for many of the bronzes from this period.

6. Deck Factory (1858-1905)
Auguste Hirsch (1833-1912)
Platter (from a pair), 1875 et 1881
Ceramic - Diameter : 61 cm
Paris, galerie Vauclair
Photo : galerie Vauclair

7. Lorin Factory
Leaving for the Hunt, 1883
Stained-glass Window - 232 x 110 cm
Paris, galerie Marc Maison
Photo : galerie Marc Maison

Among many other fine quality objects, we should also point out the Vauclair Gallery with a pair of platters from the Deck factory painted by Alexandre-Auguste Hirsch (ill. 6) and finally, at Marc Maison’s a large stained-glass window from the Lorin factory, Leaving for the Hunt (ill. 7). Its provenance, from the château des Ollières in Nice, reminds us however that it should have remained on location, although it seems to have been removed quite some time ago...

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Didier Rykner, mercredi 19 septembre 2012

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