Item #06541 Mémoire des Modéles de Bronze, Cizelure Et Dorure de Porcelaines faites pour Le Service de Madame La Duchesse de Mazarin sous les ordres et dessins de Monsieur Belanger…Architecte…par Gouthiere Cizeleur Doreur du Roy En 1781. Pierre-Joseph Gouthière.
SHE NEVER PAID — HE DIED IN MISERY

Mémoire des Modéles de Bronze, Cizelure Et Dorure de Porcelaines faites pour Le Service de Madame La Duchesse de Mazarin sous les ordres et dessins de Monsieur Belanger…Architecte…par Gouthiere Cizeleur Doreur du Roy En 1781.

Paris, P.-J. Gouthière, Étienne Martincourt and François Rémond 2 December 1789.

Folio (366 x 250 mm.). Contemporary pagination: 24p. Manuscript in a single cursive hand in brown ink, ruled in pencil, subscribed, signed and authenticated by the two appraisers.

Sewn through the spine with two pink silk ties (one tie broken).

The master bronze-gilder’s only surviving invoice for works commissioned between 1777 and 1780 by Louise-Jeanne de Durfort, duchess of Mazarin (1735-1781).
            One of the most skilled decorative artists of his time and much in demand, Gouthière “mastered the art of chasing and gilding on metal to a level previously unseen in France” (Baulez). He perfected and popularized matte gilding and, among other projects, helped decorate Marie Antoinette’s private chambers at Fontainebleau and Versailles.
            Following the duchess of Mazarin’s death in 1781, Gouthière was forced into bankruptcy despite the high prices his creations were fetching at auction. By 1789, her estate owed him over one hundred thousand livres(including charges not in this Mémoire). As part of the legal proceedings, two experts, fellow bronze-gilders Étienne Martincourt (1727-96) and François Rémond (1745/7-1812), examined and appraised the pieces under consideration in the present court document, which itemizes Gouthière’s work decorating and furnishing seven rooms in the duchess’ Paris townhouse, collaborating efforts with lead architect François-Joseph Bélanger (1744-1818), marble cutters, bronze founders, wood turners, a clockmaker….
            Gouthière’s meticulous methods are on display here. For every proposal, he prepared multiple models, variously in clay, wood, wax, plaster or pewter. Only fifteen pieces were eventually approved and completed in his workshop — two chimney pieces, a pair of firedogs, a side table, two pedestals, two pairs of wall lights and four door locking mechanisms, together with several doorknobs, latches, hinges, bolts, etc. Chased, chiseled, gilt, burnished and joined by solder or mounts to porcelain or marble, the most elaborate bronzes include candelabra shaped as poppy stems, leaves, buds and flowers (Louvre) and two satyresses carrying musical instruments, mounted as caryatids supporting the blue marble mantelpiece of the grand salon’s fireplace (whereabouts unknown).
            Every page of the Mémoire has three parts. Those describing the object in question and its retail value are in the hand of a legal scribe. That with the appraised value is likely in the hand of Martincourt, who added his paraph at the bottom of each page. The whole is attested and signed at the end by both Rémond and Martincourt.
            Gouthière’s invoiced total of eighty-two thousand two hundred thirty-five livres included compensation for unfinished pieces ordered by the duchess and charges for modeling, transporting and casting alternative designs at her request. The appraisers reduced that sum to sixty-six thousand two hundred ninety-one livres, insufficient to save the artist from insolvency.
            In good condition (minor stains, fore-edge of first leaf slightly defective with loss of a few letters). The Mémoireappeared in print in 1883-84 in three consecutive issues of the journal L’Art, edited by Eugène Véron (1825-1889).
¶Vignon and Baulez, Pierre Gouthière: Virtuoso Gilder at the French Court. Exhibition 16.XI.2016-19.II.2017 (2016) 61 and see 57-60, 346-53 & nos. 22, 26, 35, 39, 49; see Robiquet’s Vie et Œuvre de Pierre Gouthière 58, 123-24, Penguin Dictionary of Decorative Arts edd. Fleming & Honour 361-62.

Item #06541

Price: $7,500.00

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