Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Louis & Francoise Moreau Lamps

New this month is this incredible pair of hand-painted French spelter metal lamps. Each one is signed L&F Moreau, and marked with a seal that reads "Collection Francaise". Brothers Louis Auguste and Hippolyte Francois Moreau, part of the Moreau family of sculptors from Dijon, France. Louis worked in bronze and metal sculpture while Francois was a painter and sculptor. They collaborated on many, many highly ornate and detailed decorative pieces in the Art Nouveau era, mostly lamps and clocks, and signed their pieces “L & F Moreau”. This pair features a boy and a girl, each holding a rose and posed next to a pillar, out of which extend the lamps. Each has four candleabra style bulbs surrounded by fluted glass shades. Thes lamps were brought into the shop by an elderly couple who purchased them about 46 years ago (mid-1960s) in New York City. While both lamps are in remarkable condition, each suffers from some paint loss, due to their recently being kept in an attic. The boy lamp is almost flawless, but does show paint loss and paint cracking on the front leg. The girl lamp exhibits more paint loss mostly on the back of the figure and on the pillar. While the orginal artists were French, the lamps are marked with a seal that reads "Collection Francaise, Made in USA."

Collection Francaise USA is a company founded by J.B. Hirsh. The original molds for 300 pieces of French Bronze were disasembled during World War and hidden, to keep out of Nazi hands. After the war Mr. Hirsh went to Europe and bought them and brought them to America and reasembled them and started  a company called Collection Francaise.

The name J.B. Hirsch dates back to 1907 when Rumanian √©migr√© Joseph Hirsch and his son Abraham purchased the moulds from a French foundry that was supplying "French Bronzes" to Hirsch’s company, The New York Bronze Works. Hirsch and his son renamed their company J.B. Hirsch Company and became the first American company to produce "French Bronzes" here. Continuing to purchase from other French Foundries, styles including Beaux Arts, Art Nouveau, and Art Deco, the company met the demand of changing styles and during the 1930’s J. B. Hirsch adapted "French Bronze" statuary in the manufacture of portable lamps.

Each lamp weighs over 25 pounds. They are priced at $1800 for the pair.

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