Barbedienne Cloisonne Jardiniere Barbedienne Cloisonne Jardiniere Barbedienne Cloisonne Jardiniere Barbedienne Cloisonne Jardiniere
A Gilt-Bronze and Champlevé Enamel Jardinière

Designed by Edouard Lièvre for Ferdinand Barbedienne, circa 1880

Inscribed F. Barbedienne

15 ¼ in (38.7 cm) high, 14 ½ in (36.9 cm) square
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Edouard Lièvre was one of the most prolific and talented industrial designers of the second half of the 19th century, with an astonishingly wide range: bronze furniture trims, ceramics, ornate neo-renaissance and Japanese-style furniture. They were all designed for production by well-known Paris firms, Barbedienne for the bronzes, Christofle for the goldwork, and fashionable fancy goods stores such as l'Escalier de Cristal.

He avoided pastiche mainly because of his talent as an artist (he was a brilliant watercolourist) and his sophistication. He wrote several books illustrating the great collections of objets d'art, such as Musée impérial du Louvre : collection Sauvageot dessinée et gravée, 1863. His clientele included well-known personalities such as the painter Edouard Detaille and the actress Sarah Bernhardt.

The Ferdinand Barbedienne foundry was started in Paris in 1838 by Ferdinand Barbedienne and Achille Collas, who was the inventor of a machine that would mechanically reduce statues.  They produced bronze reductions of antique sculptures of Greek and Roman origin.  From 1843, they cast the work of living artists, their first contract being for Francois Rude. Barbedienne actively pursued contracts with the many sculptors of Paris contracting with David D'Angers, Jean-Baptiste Clesinger and even producing some casts for Antoine Louis Barye as well as others. 

From 1851 the Barbedienne firm received numerous awards at the international exhibitions, including medals in three different classes at the International Exhibition of 1862 in London. Achille Collas died in 1859 leaving Ferdinand Barbedienne the sole owner of the foundry which by that time employed over 300 workers at its workshop at 63 Rue de Lancry, Paris. Ferdinand Barbedienne was made the President of the Reunion of Bronze Makers in 1865, a post he held until 1885.

Ferdinand Barbedienne died on March 21 1891 and was mourned by many in the world of sculpture. It was said that he strove to achieve the highest quality in his castings. Albert Susse said of him that he was the ‘pride of the nation’ and that  that he ‘carried the splendour of our industry so loftily to all international competitions’. The running of the foundry was taken over by Gustave Leblanc, a nephew, and continued the high standards set by M. Barbedienne.

Enamel works by Barbedienne are held in collections at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Musée d’Orsay and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.