François Linke (1855 - 1946)


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François Linke (1855 - 1946)

A Rare and Impressive Belle Epoque Gilt-Bronze Mounted Parquetry Inlaid Buffet, By François Linke, The Mounts Designed by Léon Messagé.

France, Circa 1910.

REF No. B73633

Index Number 2184. Signed Right Hand Corner Mount F Linke The Clock Dial Also Signed F Linke Lockplate Stamped Ct Linke Serrurerie Paris 2184

dimensions

Height :226 cm | 89 in
Width :262 cm | 103¹/₈ in
Depth :79 cm | 31¹/₈ in

description

A Rare and Impressive Belle Epoque Gilt-Bronze Mounted Parquetry Inlaid Buffet, By François Linke, The Mounts Designed by Léon Messagé.

Signed to the right corner clasp ‘Linke’
The enamel clock dial with Roman numerals and Signed ‘F Linke A PARIS’.    
The lockplate stamped ‘Ct Linke Serrurerie Paris’ and with the index number ‘2184’.


One of the rarest and most impressive of Linke’s creations this magnificent buffet cabinet is recorded as a pièce unique. Made to the exacting standards of François Linke’s production as the most prized ébéniste of the Belle Epoque, and dating to the height of his creative powers, this cabinet is a glorious flourishing of the Ebènisterie d'Art.

The ambition of the design, which is executed on grand proportions, the abundance of gilt-bronze sculptural mounts and radiating sunray Bois de Violette veneers, make it a definitive example from Linke’s great exhibition period when he was awarded a medaille d'or at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900.

The superstructure of the gallery has a sweeping serpentine shape terminating in scrolled rocaille twin-light candelabra. At the centre rises an integral clock case surmounted by cherubs holding floral garlands. The putti are floating on clouds above the clock face and their foliate trails symbolize the dawning of a new day. The top of the cabinet is a monumental slab of brèche violette marble with a moulded edge and shaped around the cabinet structure whereby the central drawer and cupboard doors protrude forward from the flanking cupboards. The doors are fronted with cuivre doré frames and the whole is replete with a wealth of rocaille ornament culminating in Linke’s idiosyncratic shell mount. The angles have large shell-shaped mounts, the right clasp is clearly signed ‘Linke’.


Christopher Payne illustrates the buffet in François Linke’s showrooms at 170 Faubourg Sainte Antoine.  Payne records that it is a pièce unique made for Mme. Brodsky in 1911. The brèche violette marble top was repolished by Linke’s workshops in 1929.  

France, Circa 1910.

maker

François Linke (1855 - 1946) was the most important Parisian cabinet maker of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and possibly the most sought after cabinet maker of his period.

He was born in 1855 in the small village of Pankraz, in what is now the Czech Republic. Records show that Linke served an apprenticeship with the master cabinetmaker Neumann, then in 1875 at the age of 20 he arrived in Paris where he lived until he died in 1946.

It is known that the fledgling Linke workshops were active in Paris in the Faubourg St. Antoine as early as 1881, and during this time he supplied furniture for other more established makers such as Jansen and Krieger.
The quality of Linke's craftsmanship was unsurpassed by any of his contemporaries and reached its peak with his spectacular stand at the Paris Exposition Universelle in 1900, where his Grand Bureau took the gold medal. He gambled his fortune and reputation on this stand, exhibiting several breath-taking items of furniture with sculptural mounts of the most exceptional quality and proportion. His gamble worked and his reputation was established to such an extent that Linke continued to be the pre-eminent furniture house in Paris until the Second World War.

As the Art Journal reported in 1900 on Linke's stand:
The work of M. Linke ... was an example of what can be done by seeking inspiration amongst the classic examples of Louis XV and XVI without in any great sense copying these great works. M. Linke's work was original in the true sense of the word, and as such commended itself to the intelligent seeker after the really artistic things of the Exhibition. Wonderful talent was employed in producing the magnificent pieces of furniture displayed....

The formation of Linke's distinctive style was made possible by his collaboration with the sculptor Léon Messagé.

Together Linke and Messagé designed furniture for Linke's 1900 exhibition stand, with exuberant allegorical figures cast in high relief, that exemplified Linke's ability to seamlessly merge the different mediums of wood carving, bronze and marquetry into a dynamic unified whole.

Today Linke is best known for the exceptionally high quality of his work, as well as his individualism and inventiveness. All of his work has the finest, most lavish mounts, very often applied to comparatively simple carcasses of quarter veneered kingwood or tulipwood. The technical brilliance of his work and the artistic change that it represented were never to be repeated.

literature

Payne, Christopher. François Linke, (1855 - 1946), The Belle Époque of French Furniture, Antique Collectors' Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2003. p. 463 (pl. 552)

Provenance

Pièce unique made for a Mme. Brodsky in 1911.
Collection of Mr. and Mrs. William Myron Keck of Owlwood Estate, Beverly Hills, CA; by descent until sold:
The Potomack Company, Alexandria, Virginia, USA, 27 January 2018, lot 34..

 

François Linke

A Rare and Impressive Belle Epoque Gilt-Bronze Mounted Parquetry Inlaid Buffet, By François Linke, The Mounts Designed by Léon Messagé.







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