André-Charles Boulle : Ebéniste, Ciseleur & Marqueteur Ordinaire du Roy
André-Charles Boulle : Ebéniste, Ciseleur & Marqueteur Ordinaire du Roy

André-Charles Boulle : Ebéniste, Ciseleur & Marqueteur Ordinaire du Roy


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The author, professor of marquetry at the Boulle school and doctor of art history, describes the life and work of this exceptional cabinetmaker with the combined look of a craftsman and a historian.
André-Charles Boulle (1642-1732) was already at 30 years considered "the most skilled cabinetmaker of Paris" (Colbert). He was the only craftsman of his generation to bring together several know-how which all contributed to the beauty of the objects he made. His name is indeed associated with his talents as a designer, he who developed the art of covering tortoiseshell and metal shells (brass, tin or copper), which took the name of Boulle marquetry. He was also a virtuoso of "wood painting", a technique associating various essences to form bouquets, foliage, garlands and arabesques. He was also a draftsman, a table-maker, a carpenter and mastered the art of bronze. He finally managed his own bronze-making workshop where he sometimes sculpted his models and practiced carving and gilding.

He left us magnificent furniture, but also smaller objects: writing-pieces, consoles, clocks, boxes and numerous drawings manuscripts or engravings that the author is pleased to present through numerous photographs and to comment and specifying their history , The techniques used, the species and materials used. On occasion he accompanies them with their survey, and to better account for the many details, some drawings of large dimensions are presented on folding paper.

The book begins with a reminder of the marquetry techniques used by Boulle: the drawing, the materials, the cutting and its tools, part and counterpart, wood marquetry (or wood painting), engraving. He tells the life of the cabinetmaker, his historical context in the Paris of craftsmen in the seventeenth century, his family with Jean Bolt, his father already carpenter in ebony, his youth, his rapid rise in craftsmanship until being Housed for 60 years in the Louvre by the king who placed it above the corporate regulations. The author reminds us that the man was also a crazy painter and collector passionate, which always made him live with creditors at his door and will even test him from prison to debt.

The text is enamelled by numerous photographs accompanied by descriptions of Boulle 's works, not to mention those of some contemporary cabinetmakers who influenced or followed it, and some later furniture that show Master' s marquetry panels re - other. The book concludes with a report in a Parisian studio that recently carried out in the rules of art a copy of a cabinet Boulle.

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