Exceptionally rare pair of large French Empire candlesticks by Claude Galle
Pair of large French Empire candlesticks by Claude Galle
Pair of chiseled and gilt bronze French Empire candlesticks by Claude Galle. These very elegant candlesticks have a faceted barrel ending in a curved binet and are resting on an octagonal base. They belong to the most rare models by Claude Galle. Also their restrained geometrical design gives them a phenomenal impression of luxury and elegance.
Claude Galle, bronze maker at 9, rue Vivienne in Paris, delivered to the Garde-Meuble two pairs of identical candlesticks for the salon of the princes of the apartments of the emperor at the Grand Trianon palace. This is according to a memorandum of 23 December 1809. Further, an identical pair of candlesticks was delivered to the Palace of Fontainebleau on May 30, 1806. In 1810 they were in the first salon of the Emperor’s small apartment.
Details of this pair of Empire candlesticks
Empire period circa 1809.
Dimensions: 29 cm high, diameter 14.5 cm.
Weight: 1.7 kg (for the pair).
Claude Galle (1759 – 1815) is regarded as one of the best bronziers of the late Louis XVI and Empire periods. He was born at Villepreux near Versailles. Galle was the apprentice of Pierre Foyin in Paris whose daughter he married in 1784. He became master bronze caster in 1786. After the death of his father-in-law in 1788 Galle took over his workshop. He soon turned it into one of the best bronze workshops in Paris and finally he employed around four hundred craftsmen. He moved to Quai de la Monnaie (later Quai de l’Unité), and then in 1805 to 9 Rue Vivienne.
Galle obtained many commissions of the Royal family (Garde-Meuble de la Couronne) from 1786-1788. He worked with with masters like Pierre-Philippe Thomire, and furnished the majority of the furnishing bronzes for the Château de Fontainebleau during the Empire. Also he supplied ormolu bronzes to the palaces of Saint-Cloud, The Trianons, The Tuileries, Compiègne and Rambouillet.
Galle’s work is in the collection of museums like Musée National du Château de Malmaison, Musée Marmottan in Paris, the ‘museo de Reloges’ at Jerez de la Frontera, The Residenz in Munich, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Claude Galle died in 1815 after which his son Gérard-Jean Galle (1788-1846) continued the business.
- De bronze et de cristal, Marie-France Dupuy-Baylet, éditions Faton, p.389
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