This very rare pair of carved groups decorated with fantastic animals is in gilded and silver bronze. It rests on four large feet in the shape of fantastic animal paws foreshadowing Art Nouveau.
Paris around 1854
Adolphe-Victor Geoffroy-Dechaume was born in Paris in 1816. Pupil of David d'Angers and James Pradier, he provided, in the first half of his career, many models for the decorative arts of bronzers such as Denière, Susse, Quesnel , Raingo or even Dalafontaine with whom he collaborated regularly from 1847.
He also worked with the goldsmiths Wagner then his successor Rudolphi, Froment Meurice, Les frères Marel and Maurice Mayer.
He participated in the creation of important works, namely the toilet of the Duchess of Parma (Musée d'Orsay), the harvesting cup, the vase of temperance and intemperance or the Persian chandelier (Louvre Museum ).
In 1848, without abandoning the decorative arts, he became passionate about medieval art and began a career as a sculptor on the major restoration sites of medieval cathedrals (Notre Dame de Paris and the Sainte Chapelle) under the direction of the architects Lassus, Viollet- le-Duc, Boeswillwald and Ruprich-Robert.
The Geoffroy-Dechaume collection, currently kept at the Musée des Monuments Français (City of Architecture and Heritage in Paris) preserves two drawings that correspond fully to our andirons: one representing two fantastic animals entwined (inv.DSS 1152) , the other takes one of the animals with its three suckling pups. (inv.DSS 475)
In addition, in Geoffroy Dechaume's account book, the latter provided the bronze worker Auguste-Maximilien Delafontaine with a model of a pair of Chenets in 1854 which could correspond to our pair.
It is part of the same innovative aesthetic as the chandelier dating from 1853 exhibited at the Biennale des antiquaires in Paris in 2008 by the Didier Aaron gallery on which we find the same Persian openwork elements.
Indeed from 1850, Dechaume moved towards a very personal style which he himself described as "Persian" combining references to Islamic and medieval arts. This term, also used several times by his contemporaries to describe the works of Geoffroy Dechaume refers to this astonishing freedom of invention where dominate the vegetable interlacing and the long palmettes loved this lover of nature. He was the precursor of this style.