Sunday, February 5, 2012

The object of the day: Two 19th century cabinets by Henri Dasson

A pair of amboyna, mahogany and black lacquer side cabinets, by Henry Dasson, Paris, circa 1880. photo Sotheby's
Made in the manner of Weisweiller, each with a brocatelle d'Espagne marble top above a frieze drawer and a panelled door, stamped Henry Dasson. 105cm. high, 83cm. wide, 45cm. deep; 3ft.5½in., 2ft.8¾in., 1ft.5½in. Est. 20,000—30,000 GBP - Sold 22,500 GBP
NOTE: Henry Dasson (1825-1896) is amongst the most distinguished of ébènistes of the second half of the 19th century. He had a remarkable career establishing himself as one of the most sought after makers from relatively humble beginings. The son of a leather worker he commenced as a bronzier specialising in clock cases. The catalyst for him to widen his oeuvre seems to have been the purchase of the models and casts from the workshop of Charles-Guillaume Winckelsen (1812-1871). Winckelsen specialised in very high quality furniture in the Louis XVI style with very finely cast and chased bronzes.

He made a significant contribution to the International Exhibition in Paris in 1878, which was acclaimed by the official jury who reported, "M. Dasson eût mieux à sa place dans la classe 17, où il aurait eu à lutter directement avec ses pairs, M.M. Fourdinois, Grohé. Beurdeley fils etc." Perhaps his most extraordinary contribution to the exhibition was his version of the Louis XV bureau made by Oeben and Reisener, now at the Château de Versailles. It was highly justly praised at the time and became to forerunner of later versions by all the great ébènistes of the period, including Beurdeley, Zwiener, Jansen and Linke. In 1883 he took part in the International Exhibition in Amsterdam, alongside his peers, Beurdeley, Fourdinois, Damon et Cie and Christofle. 

Dasson also took a major role in the International Exhibtion of 1889 in Paris where his stand reflected that pragmatic combination of "meubles à bon marché et meubles de luxe". HIs stand stood opposite M.Beurdeley and next to the celebrated house of Jeanselme. Alongside his classic interpretations of Louis XIV, Louis XV and Louis XVI furntiure his work began to embrace the new sinuous forms that heralded the emergence of Art Nouveau. Following the exhibiton in recognition of his achievements he was promoted to an Officier de l'ordre de la Légion d'Honneur. 

The business was wound up in 1894 just before his death, when the remaining furniture, bronze models and casts were sold in three separate auctions on the premises at 106 rue Vieille-du-Temple. Examples of his work are highly prized and can be found in many distinguished collections, such as the Camondo, Stein, the Duke of Hamiltion and the Wallace Collection at Hertford House.

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