Henri-Auguste Fourdinois (1830–1907), Two-tiered cabinet, France, 1867
Nivillier (drawings of the ornamentation)
Party (modeling of the cabinet)
Hugues Protat, Primo and Maigret (sculptures)
Carved walnut, inlays of blood jasper and lapis-lazuli, interior inlaid with ivory and silver
Bequest of Marguerite Antoinette Fourdinois, 1922
© Les Arts Décoratifs / photo: Jean Tholance
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This cabinet is one of the masterpieces made by the cabinetmaker Henri-Auguste Fourdinois. It was presented at the Paris World’s Fair of 1867, where it was awarded the Grand Prix, the top prize at these events.
This walnut cabinet, as much a sculpture as a piece of furniture, is a tribute to the art of the sixteenth century. Like Renaissance cabinets, it has a two-part structure. The two doors in the upper section open to reveal an interior veneered with ivory and silver. Two winged sphinxes support the shelf above the lower section. The nymphs (carved in the style of the sixteenth-century sculptor Jean Goujon), the allegorical figures and the numerous plants and scrolls are all finely executed. Small plaques of blood jasper and lapis-lazuli, recalling the Renaissance taste for precious furniture, add a touch of color.