Famous French cabinetmakers are auction drawcards

Author: Richard Brewster | Posted: 13th February, 2018

A Francoise Linke (1855-1946) commode and a bureau-plat by Paul Sormani are highlights of Christian McCann Auctions final sale for 2018 from noon Sunday December 16 at 426 Burnley Street, Richmond.

A leading late 19th and early 20th century Parisian cabinetmaker, Linke was born in the small Czech Republic village of Pankraz and in 1875 arrived in Paris.

Six years later, he was supplying for more established furniture makers and, in a time of wealth and confidence in France, set his sights on exhibiting his creations at the 1900 Paris World Fair.

Determined to outshine his competitors, at great cost Linke built the most extravagant furniture pieces he could imagine – marking a transition from traditional Louis XV and Louis XVI styles to the more lively and progressive art nouveau genre.    

So successful was his display, that visitors – including the kings of Sweden and Belgium, American heiress Anna May Gould and French president Emile Loubet – came from all parts of the world to see it.

With his international reputation established, La Maison Linke became the pre-eminent furniture house until the onset of World War II and made furniture for leading industrialists and bankers.

Linke also undertook the furnishing of Egypt King Faud’s Ras al-Tin Palace in Alexandria – possibly the largest single furniture  commission ever conceived.

Likewise, Paul Sormani (1817-1877) was one of the most important cabinetmakers of his time – specialising in Louis XV and Louis XVI styles.

Emperor Napoleon III’s Eugenie employed Sormani to decorate her palace in the 18th century styles to complement her period examples.

Sormani won medals for his creations at both the 1855 Exposition Universelle and 1862 London Exhibition.

After Sormani died, his wife Marie-Philippine and son took over the business which closed in 1934.

Other auction furniture includes a pair of French plum pudding mahogany bookcases, carved giltwood salon pieces and giltwood mirrors.

Australian art features prominently including works by Norman Lindsay, Will Ashton, David Boyd, John Glover, Ernest Buckmaster, Olivia Claire and Pro Hart.

Among the sculptures is a marble figure on a pedestal, a reclining marble lady and several bronze figures by renowned 19th century artists.

The quality clocks and clock sets include rare 18th century boulle bracket clocks and a George III longcase versions.

Nineteenth century ivory features an important empress and emperor pair. Porcelain highlights include Sevres, Royal Worcester, Meissen, Dresden and an exhibition Royal Vienna vase.


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