‘Table des Arts’ – An Important Gilt-Bronze, Mahogany And Porphyry Table
Table des Arts' - An Important Gilt-Bronze, Mahogany And Porphyry Table. By Henry Dasson. France, Dated 1889. The original and rare Egyptian porphyry...
DimensionsHeight: 81 cm (32 in)
Width: 98 cm (39 in)
Depth: 58 cm (23 in)
Table des Arts’ – An Important Gilt-Bronze, Mahogany And Porphyry Table. By Henry Dasson. France, Dated 1889.
The original and rare Egyptian porphyry top above a frieze inset with gilt-bronze scrolled acanthus finely detailed with all manner of miniature attributes representing the arts. On four gilt-bronze legs modelled as caryatid figures representing painting, sculpture, music and poetry. Beneath the figures, the legs taper and are ornamented with finely cast details which correspond to each figures’ attribute.
Signed and dated ‘henry Dasson et Cie. 1889’.
France, Dated 1889.
This fine guèridon is known as the ‘Tables des Arts’ in reference to the legs which are sculpted in gilt-bronze as caryatid figures representing painting, sculpture, music and poetry.
This table was conceived as an exhibition piece to show the accomplishment of Henry Dasson’s production in both originality of design and finesse of manufacture. Since its unveiling it has been considered a preeminent example of Dasson’s oeuvre. It has long been prized by collectors, primarily for the phenomenal quality of the sculptural gilt-bronzes.
The design is indebted to the Louis XVI style. Specifically, the scrolled frieze mounts and the sculptural half-figures recall the work of the bronziers Pierre Gouthière and François Rémond who supplied gilt-bronze mountings for furniture by Adam Weisweiler and Jean-Henri Riesener, makers to King Louis XVI. However, with great conviction, Dasson on this table does not replicate but modifies these very elements to make them distinctly his own. The figures are individually and exquisitely modelled with phenomenal detail. Under Dasson’s hand these architectural herms are ennobled and personified as graceful muses of the arts.
This model of table was first shown at the 1878 Paris Exposition universelle with caryatids representing the seasons. The first known example of the ‘Table des Arts’ is dated 1880 and was exhibited at the French Pavilion at the 1883 Amsterdam Exhibition. One other example of the ‘Table des Quatre Saisons’ is known, dated 1886. The present ‘Table des Arts’ dated 1889 was almost certainly shown at the 1889 Paris exhibition, identifiable from the following description: ‘sa petite table Louis XVI, en vieil acajou, dessus en porphyre, avec quatre pieds formés de fines statuettes en bronze ciselé’.
Gilt-Bronze, Mahogany, and Porphyry
Signed and dated 'henry Dasson et Cie. 1889'.
Henry Dasson (1825-1896) was one of the finest makers of gilt-bronze mounted furniture in the nineteenth century. Unlike other cabinetmakers of this time Dasson started his career as a bronze sculptor, and for this reason one of the characteristics of his work is the great quality of his bronze and more precisely of the chiselling.
With a workshop established in Paris at 106 rue Vieille-du-Temple, he specialised predominantly in the production of Louis XIV, XV and XVI style furniture using the very finest gilt-bronze mounts.
In 1871, he purchased the flourishing business and remaining stock of Charles-Guillaume Winckelsen, who had established a reputation for furniture of the highest quality. Dasson almost certainly inherited the craft of ciseleur from Winckelsen.
At the 1878 and 1889 Paris Expositions Universelles Dasson exhibited a number of pieces in the Louis XV and XVI styles, as well as pieces of his own modified eighteenth-century design. The exhibits in 1878 included a table entirely in gilt-bronze, purchased by Lord Dudley. His copy of the celebrated Bureau du Roi sold at the same exhibition to Lady Ashburton.
Dasson ceased production in 1894, and at this time held a sale of his models, listed in Catalogues of drawings for art bronzes, style furniture and important decoration with rights of reproduction by Henry Dasson et Cie, manufacturer of art bronzes and cabinetmaker as a result of cessation of production..’ The records from this sale show that Paul Sormani, as well as Joseph Emmanuel Zweiner, Maison Millet and Beurdeley acquired certain drawings and models by Dasson.
Jonathan Meyer illustrates a number of exceptional items exhibited by Dasson in 1889 in his book on the Great Exhibitions.
Mestdagh, Camille & Lécoules, Pierre. L’Ameublement d’art français : 1850-1900, Les Editions de l’Amateur, (Paris), 2010.
Ledoux-Lebard, Denise. Les Ebénistes du XIXeme siècle, Les Editions de l’Amateur, (Paris), 1984; pp. 146 – 151.0
Meyer, Jonathan. ‘Great Exhibitions – London, New York, Paris, Philadelphia, 1851-1900′, Antique Collectors’ Club, (Woodbridge, UK), 2006; p. 269, pls. H7, H8, H10: p. 270, pl, H12.
Pierre Lécoules Collection, Paris.
Exhibited at the Exposition universelle internationale, 1889, Paris.
Victor Champier (Ed), Revue des arts décoratifs, Paris, 1883 (the Tables des Arts at the 1883 Amsterdam exhibition).
M. Meynard, ‘Classe – 17 Meubles à bon marché et meubles de luxe’,. Rapports du jury international publiés sous la direction de M. Alfred Picard, Exposition universelle internationale de 1889 à Paris. 1891, p. 8 (the present table described).
Camille Mestdagh, L’Ameublement d’art français 1850-1900, Les éditions de l’Amateur, Paris, 2010, pp. 108 and 109 (the present table illustrated figs. 105 and 106).
Christopher Payne, Paris Furniture – The Luxury Market of the 19th Century, Editions Monelle Hayot, Paris, p. 310 (the 1878 Paris ‘Table des Quatre Saisons’ illustrated).