Carved and gilt wood ceremonial armchair. Flat backrest with motifs of four-leaf rosettes and palmettes, rail ornated with ribbon-tied reeds. Armrests atop fasces supports ornated with waterleaves terminating with ball feet. Slightly arched trapezoid-shaped apron with four-leaf rosettes decoration. Back sabre legs.
Attributed to Pierre-Antoine Bellangé (1757-1827)
Empire Period, circa 1810-1815
Height: 99 cm (39 in.) - Width : 54 cm (21-1/4 in.) - Depth: 52 cm (20-1/2 in.)
Minor gilt wear. Few chips and losses
We would like to cordially thank Mr. Sylvain Cordier, curator of early decorative arts at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts for allowing us to attribute this arm chair to Pierre-Antoine Bellangé, and Mr. Jean-Pierre Planchon who dismissed the attribution to Pierre Marcion.
- For a mahogany salon set stamped by Pierre-Antoine Bellangé which belonged to Louis-Alexandre Berthier, Prince of Neuchâtel, consult Fontainebleau, Osenat, June 9, 2013, lot 181.
- For another re-gilt wood salon set consult, Hôtel Drouot, Piasa, June 24, 2011, lot 262.
Cordier, S., Bellangé ébénistes. Une histoire du goût au XIX° siècle (Bellenge Furniture Makers, A History of Fine Tastes), Paris, Mare & Martin, 2012.
Ledoux-Lebard, D., Les ébénistes parisiens (1795-1830), leurs œuvres, leurs marques (Parisian Furniture Makers their works, their marks), Paris, Librairie Gründ, pp. 34-36.
Ledoux-Lebard, D., Le mobilier français au XIXe siècle (19th Century French Furniture), Paris, Editions de l’amateur, 1984, pp. 50-64 (a sofa with the same backrest rail illustrated).
Ledoux-Lebard, D., Les 3 Bellangé, fournisseur de la cour (The 3 Bellange, Court Suppliers), Connaissance des Arts, November 1964, p. 86-93.
The Bellangé family
The Bellangé family was a dynasty of furniture makers who play a large role in the 19th Century art for more than eighty years. It began with two brothers, Pierre-Antoine and Louis-François.
The first Pierre-Antoine received his master status as carpenter on October 24, 1788.
He was one of the craftsmen selected by Napoleon I during the Empire along with Jacob and Marcion. His work is influenced by renowned architects during his time like Percier and Fontaine. He notably furnished Laeken Chateau and the Emperor’s residences in Brussels, Saint-Cloud, Compiègne, Meudon and Tuileries. For the latter he designed the exercise room for the king of Rome’s apartment. Along side these imperial commissions, he furnished for the imperial staff such as Marshall Berthier, Prince of Neuchâtel, for his townhouse on Rue Neuve-des-Capucines, Paris.
During the Restoration, he received the status of esteemed cabinet maker for the Crown’s “Garde-meuble” (furniture) then was promoted to general director of furniture. He executed during this era furniture for the Prince of Condé at Chantilly. During the July Monarchy, he received the title of king’s cabinet maker and furnished again grand commissions such as the Princess Adélaïde d’Orléans, Countess of Cayla and Duchess of Berry. This period marks his career’s high point. In 1820, he associated with his son, Louis-Alexandre, then passed on his duties to him in 1825. He deceased two years later.
Some of his works are in the collections of the greatest museums such as Louvre, Versailles Chateau, Compiègne Palace, Fontainebleau Palace, Marmottan-Monet Museum, Legion of Honour Museum and Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris.
Armchair presented by Expertissim
This armchair can be compared with several listed models.
The fluted crest rail in which a ribbon-tied reed is placed seems typical of the Pierre-Antoine Bellangé’s production. It is found on the armchair stamped P-A. Bellangé in the collections of Compiègne Palace (illustrated in Connaissance des Arts, November 1964, p. 88). The same decorative motif is found on one of the most prestigious commissions that of the President of the U.S.A., James Monroe, for the White House’s blue room in Washington, D.C. This furniture is displayed in situ and illustrated in Sylvain Cordier’s work.
Sylvain Cordier compares this armchair model on Expertissim with the salon of the Grand Chancellor at the Legion of Honour, stamped by Pierre-Antoine Bellangé, also illustrated in his work. We find the same shapes, back legs, armrests, backrests and rosettes.
He outlines the history of this set after 1817 belonging to Princess of Poix, wife of Governor of Versailles. The salon furniture composed of eight armchairs, ten chairs, four bergere chairs and one sofa was then purchased by the Prince’s Garde-meuble then sent in 1832 to the apartment of Duke of Nemours. Then moved to the apartment of Prince Jerome during the Second Empire and transported from Compiègne in 1984 to Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour, in exchange for the King of Rome’s bathroom.