Adolphe Victor Geoffroy-Dechaume and Maximilien-Auguste Delafontaine.
Pair of andirons with fantastic animals.
H. 36 cm.
The Geoffroy-Dechaume collection, currently held at the Musée des Monuments Français, holds two drawings representing our andirons: one with two fantastic animals embracing (inv.DSS 1152) and the other with the same animal and its three young (inv.DSS 475). In addition, the artist's account book mentions that he supplied the bronzemaker Auguste-Maximilien Delafontaine with a model of an andirons in 1854, which in all likelihood corresponds to our pair.
Geoffroy-Dechaume's genius for creating uncommon pieces drew the attention of the greatest silversmiths of his time and led to the collaboration of the artist with Froment-Meurice, Charles Wagner, Frédéric-Jules Rudolphi, Eugène Quesnel, the Susses and Auguste-Maximilien Delafontaine.
Passionated about medieval art, Geoffroy-Dechaume worked as a sculptor on the major restoration projects of medieval cathedrals such as Notre-Dame-de-Paris or the Sainte Chapelle, under the direction of the architects Lassus, Viollet-le-Duc, Boeswillwald and Ruprich-Robert.
Thus, he began to develop a very personal style in the 1850s. The number of his motif studies in the Louvre and elsewhere show the diversity of his sources of inspiration and a taste for female and animal figures. He described his style as 'Persian', combining references to Islamic and medieval European art.
The bronzier Delafontaine executed objects in Persian style after Geoffroy-Dechaume's models. The bronze maker presented a jewellery box, cups and vases in Persian style at the Exposition des produits de l'industrie. Their collaboration continued and Geoffroy-Dechaume received a first class medal as a distinguished sculptor in the category of collaborators at the 1855 World Exhibition for objects in the same style.
The model mentioned in Geoffroy-Dechaume's account book was therefore made at the height of the creation of these "Persian" models, which corresponds to the style developed on our andirons.