The eye of the collector by Jean-luc Ferrand

Estampille TAHAN

Friday 18 December 2015, by Barbara Cogollos

All the versions of this article: [English] [français]

In 1852, Napoleon III proclaimed the Empire, he decided to make Paris a modern and innovative city. He loads Baron Haussmann of the development plans. It is a period of growth and satisfaction, the big bourgeoisie conducts the industrial revolution, a social class made up of very wealthy bourgeois family appears on the Grands Boulevards we can see arrived the Department Stores, it is also the time of great exhibitions universal and global trade explodes. The works of Haussmann involve renovation of part of Parisian life, the apartments are more spacious, brighter, the concept of complete furnishing appears (a set of the same series for the same room).

JPEG - 262.8 kb
(Longueur) 97 cm x (Hauteur) 180 cm x (Profondeur) 50 cm

The reign of Napoleon III also introduces new aesthetic requirements directly related to the display of luxury. With the industrial revolution and mass production of furniture, a gap appears between the production of furniture for the middle class and the one for the high social classes. These benefit from the expertise and talent of very great craftsmen, cabinet makers or designers (Janselme, Fourdinoix etc). Since 1840 it is also the appearance of eclecticism, cabinetmakers and craftsmen now have ornamental grammar books and borrow different styles for the same piece of furniture. One sees appearing perfect copies of master furniture and although the achievement is virtuoso, there is a certain "coolness" of the drawing. style furniture of the great cabinetmakers of time coexist in the same room the creations of Riesener or Oeben. We produce many small precious and mannered furniture, small tables, stools etc ... Under the leadership of the Empress Eugenie and her passion for Marie Antoinette cabinet makers rediscover and reinterpret the Boulle style. Regarding the fabrics and tapestry, fashion is in the heavy sets, complex and overloaded with trimmings folds. We want the red and green or violet shade lined with beige or black and gold to accord with the color of ebony furniture. We often use the hard stone, brass and mother of pearl to contrast with the pale wood or ivory.

We also note the invention and development of an incredible number of seats, full of springs or mechanisms these chairs are often large.

New materials are emerging, smelting, paper mache etc. Napoleon III period is the triumph of all the techniques and all styles.

Jean Pierre Alexandre TAHAN comes from a line of craftsmen and woodworkers. His father, Pierre Lambert Tahan born in Belgium at Spa and arrived in Paris in 1804. He opened a shop in the sixth and the seventh arrondissement. He is installed as a cabinetmaker tabletier. Born in 1813 Jean Pierre TAHAN soon began working with his father to become a cabinetmaker. With the advice of his father, he learned the functional without neglecting aesthetics. In 1837 he officially associated with his father and his own career only start after the latter’s death in 1844. Free to act as it sees fit, JPA TAHAN settled rue de la Paix but leaves the workshop family rue Quincampoix. While retaining his small specialty needed, boxes and small furniture TAHAN starts production of "large" furniture (dressers, happiness of the day etc). Building on the success of its productions Jean Pierre TAHAN opens a second store Rue Basse du Rempart. In 1845, TAHAN uses commercial ads, practical and even unpopular at the time. The success of TAHAN is considerable, in December 1861, the newspaper Chronicle of Arts and Curiosity published "A visit at TAHAN" in this section it is written: "This is one of those stores that welcome as objects of choice. In one of those manufacturers that anticipate fashion and set the tone instead of undergoing it the "or" A TAHAN furniture is a joy every day because it charms eyes at any time, either by the grace of the contour or by the exquisite art of inlay or by the beautiful color of the wood or paintings "(in the Artist, Paris review in 1817). TAHAN is quickly known and celebrated for its creativity, talent and constant search for new materials and new techniques. TAHAN won numerous medals at various exhibitions: a silver in 1849 and gold in 1867. During the Universal Exhibition of 1855 in particular has an exceptional aviary carved foliage branches and birds in flight.


TAHAN becomes a preferred supplier of Guard Furniture Imperial Napoleon III including boxes of Whist in ebony and in rosewood boxes but also an oval coffee table with gilt bronze Louis XVI style to the Tuileries or a console shelf mahogany and gilt bronze Louis XVI style for the office of the Emperor. It is also popular with rich ladies of quality , Viscountess Renneville written about in the illustration, Universal Journal: "(...) TAHAN is as rich as the capricious imagination of a woman."

Jean Pierre Alexandre TAHAN therefore moved uptown, he brilliantly anticipated migration of upper social classes towards the new neighborhoods Haussmann. He provides exceptional amount of quality furniture at very many wealthy families. He committed himself his chisellers, bronze workers etc. He works with Eugène Cornu, designer-creator.

The workshops TAHAN often use rosewood for small furniture (console or happiness of the day), there is also a large emphasis on porcelain plates, particularly in combination with ebony, blackened pear or rosewood.

To note that in addition to his status as cabinet maker and business leader, Jean Pierre Alexandre TAHAN is also the inventor of the cylinder desk. Designed to be placed on a table, TAHAN deposit the certificate of this stand and obtain the right to exclusivity for 15 years.

The TAHAN factory will continue to produce high quality furniture and will land as one of the best houses of furniture Second Empire until its closure in 1882. Jean Pierre Alexandre TAHAN disappears in 1892.

Icon of an era of wealth and extreme refinement, TAHAN ’s furniture pieces are very high quality, a certain taste and are highly prized by collectors and auctions. Such as a small table Napoleon III rosewood and enamels fetched € 22,800 on 19 December at Christie’s 200th Amsterdam.

  • RAVISSANTE ARMOIRETTE DE STYLE LOUIS XVI, ESTAMPILLEE TAHAN, EPOQUE (...)

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