The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand

The BOULLE marquetry

Tuesday 23 February 2016, by Barbara Cogollos

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Pair of support furniture called marquetry "Boulle" tortoiseshell and gilded brass, blackened wood. Rich gilded bronze decorations such as foliage, branches, putti heads, locks etc. Marble top.


This pair of support furniture from the current historicist nineteenth is a realization directly inspired by the work of the cabinetmaker André Boulle.
 André Charles Boulle, born in 1642, is the son of a carpenter. His career started as a cabinetmaker in 1664 when he moved into the workshop dependent Reims college. In 1666 he was master cabinetmaker, his studio expands and hiring up to 40 employees.

 It was from 1672 that his career know a prodigious impulse. In fact, on the recommendation of COLBERT, André Charles Boulle awarded the title of "First cabinetmaker king ", described as" painter, architect, sculptor mosaic, engraver, sculptor and inventor of the figure. "

This prestigious appointment allows him to escape the corporation. He must create, blend and chop his own bronzes. His success is immense, he provides many creatiions for royal residences such as the office of grand Dauphin. He also works for the dignitaries as well as foreign courts. His creations include participating in the splendor of the court of Versailles and its global radiance.
 He lives a life of luxury and ostentation. Renowned collector, his gallery and his library became famous throughout the kingdom. He pursued by his creditors for his many debts. He will have its financial salvation to several interventions of the King. In 1704 MANSART PONTCHARTRAIN writes: "The king has kindly to give this time BOULLE a stop for six months provided that this is the last grace that his Majesty will make him about that. "
 Towards the end of his life, his style evolves and becomes more flexible, more agile with his arabesques. This evolution forms announces the Louis XV style.

BOULLE left neither stamp or signature, this latters being of use only from 1743. His highly original creative talent dominates the cabinet of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth century. He also revolutionizes the shape of many pieces of furniture such as the pair of dressers for King Louis XIV’s Grand Trianon room. Very many cabinetmakers resume his work (including DUBOIS, Levasseur and JACOB).

André Charles Boulle is also famous for his innovations in technical woodworking. He perfected the" Tarsia a incastro" technique for cutting veneer in the same package, identical shapes of different color values. BOULLE is best known for his marquetry gilded brass and tortoiseshell. We can clearly see on our pair of bearing furniture rendering feature of Boulle marquetry: patterns are symmetrical but "reversed" as negative. The decor is brass furniture on the first and on the second shell. Tkanks to these new techniques, he produces composed with complex arabesques veneer inspired by BERAIN (draftsman, watercolorist, ornemaniste seventeenth). The opposition chromatic of tortoiseshells and brass allows an extremely dynamic and alive vision. Finally the use of gilt bronze highlights this complexity and richness of the decorative pattern.

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