Ref. : 3813-11-en



"Archaïque Chinese » Vase by Christofle & Cie



France, 1880

H : 23 cm / 9.1 in.
L : 13 cm / 5.1 in.
W : 9 cm / 3.5 in.



N° 69

"Archaïc Chinese" vase in gilded, silvered and patinated bronze.
On both sides, a handle represents a fantastic animal.



Signed : "CHRISTOFLE & Cie'" engraved on the base.
Numbered : « 1078543 »










This referenced piece was manufactured in 1880 and was inspired by Chinese and Japanese vases and bronze objects of the Cernuschi Collection in Paris (see illustration 2 and 3 (Original Photograph and Salle du Grand Bouddha).

Note that the Bouilhet-Christofle Museum (France) has several other "Chinese" pieces including two silvered galvanic copper vases, patinated and gilded, dated 1874 and 1876 (see E. Gaillard, p. 104 , fig. p.107).
Three other beautiful exemples of "Japoniste" Vases decorated with "archaic" patterns are present in the Österreichisches Museum für Angewandte Kunst of Vienna (MAK), Austria (-Nr. GO543/1882, GO545/1882 and GO546/1882).

We thank Anne Gros, Director of the Museum and Archives Museum Bouilhet-Christofle, for the valuable information she provided and for having sent us the photograph archive of this vessel (see illustration 2, Archives Christofle).



Charles Christofle (1805-1863), after leading a jewelery house founded the house that bears his name.

Alongside his success at the 'Exposition des Produits de l'Industrie' (Exhibition of Products of Industry) in 1839, he bought the gilding and silvering by electroplating Ruolz and then Elkington patents, processes for which he won again the gold medal at the 1844 exhibition. Christofle then became the official supplier to the royal family; his success continued during the Second Empire, where he was awarded at the Universal Exhibitions.

more information ...

In 1863, on his death, his son Paul (1838-1907) succeeded him and his nephew Henri Bouilhet (1830-1910), a chemical engineer and talented artist. They together develop the business and took it to its full extent; Paul Christofle dealing with administrative and commercial tasks while Henri Bouilhet was directing manufacturing.

The latter will also be at the origin of the technical progresses performed by the House by developing the 'ronde-bosse' electroplating techniques which allowed the manufacture of the metal with gutta percha molds and thus to obtain shaped items, furniture in "bronze" or its famous great size statues. These galvanic electrolysis technologies also allowed more artistic creations such as "cloisonne" enamel, inlays, polychrome chemical patina, guillochage, prints, natural prints ...

It also under the leadership of Bouilhet that the house hired famous sculptors such as Pierre-Louis Rouillard, Mathurin Moreau, Albert Carrier-Belleuse and architects-designers like Charles Rossigneux (1818-1907), Edouard Lievre (1828-1886) and Emile Reiber (1826-1893). The latter one directed the workshop of creation and drawing from 1866 to 1878. The high skill and high technical level of the Christofle's workers allowed him to accomplish his most extraordinary ideas, competing with metalworkers, goldsmiths, enamelers from the Far East or Persia and with the great masters of the past.

In 1867 the house CHRISTOFLE will employ about 1,500 workers at its two factories in Paris and Karlsruhe (Germany).

Christofle under its various company names successfully participated in many exhibitions such as:

-Paris Exposition des Produits de l'Industrie in 1839, 1844 et 1849 (Gold Medal)
-Paris 1955's Exposition Universelle (Legion d'Honneur)
-Paris 1862's Exposition Universelle (Croix d'Officier)
-Paris 1867's Exposition Universelle (Hors Concours)
-London 1871's and 1872's Exposition Universelle
-Vienna 1873's Exposition Universelle (Grand Diplome d'Honneur et Croix d'Honneur)
-Philadephia 1876's Exposition Universelle
-Paris 1878's, 1889's et 1900's Exposition Universelle...



Revues :
De Ferrière, (M.), « Christofle 150 ans d'Art et de Rêve », dans Dossier de l'Art, n° 2, Dijon-France, 1991.
Falize, (L.), « Les Industries d'Art au Champ de Mars, I, Orfèvrerie et Bijouterie », dans L'Art Moderne à l'Exposition de 1878, Publication de la Gazette des Beaux-Arts, Paris, 1879, p. 309-318, fig. p. 317 et 318.
Marc, (A.), « L'Orfèvrerie - I », dans L'Exposition de Paris, Journal Hebdomadaire, n° 32, Paris, 1878, fig. p. 253.
Marc, (A.), « L'Orfèvrerie - II » et « L'Orfèvrerie - III », dans L'Exposition de Paris, Journal Hebdomadaire, n° 33, Paris, 1878, p. 258-259 et 270-271.

Catalogues d'Exposition :
Collectif, Les Merveilles de l'Exposition de 1878, Paris, 1878 , fig 70
Smith, (Prof. W.), The Masterpieces of the Centennial International Exhibition illustrated: Industrial Art, Philadelphia, vol. II, 1876-1878, p. LXXV.
Von Lützow, (C.), Kunst und Kunstgewerbe auf der Wiener Weltausstellung, 1873, Leipzig, 1875, ill. p. 116-117 et 159.

Livres :
Alcouffe, (D.), Bascou, (M.), Dion-Tanenbaum, (A.), Thiénaut, (P.), Le Arti Decorative Alle Grandi Esposizioni Universali, 1851-1900, Milano, 1988, fig. 280 et 281, 283 et 330.
Enault, (L.), Les arts industriels : Vienne, Londres, Paris, t. II, Paris, 1877.
Gaillard, (E.), Walter, (M.), Un Certain Goût pour l'Orient, XVIIIe et XIXe siècles, Paris, 2010, p. 101-115 , fig. p.105, 106 et 107.
Quentin-Bauchart, (M.), Les Richesses d'art de la ville de Paris. Les musées municipaux..., Paris, 1912, p. 171-179, pl. 61-64.
Lambourne, (L.), Japonisme, Echanges culturels entre le Japon et l'Occident, Paris, 2007, p. 82-83.
Meyer, (J.), Great Exhibitions, London-New York-Paris-Philadephia, 1851-1900, Antique Collectors'club, Woolbridge-UK, 2006, p. 262-263, fig. G78, G80.
Wichmann, (S.), Japonisme, Paris, 1982.