A pair of ormolu Louis XV appliques with two uneven arms. The backplate, the arms and the bobêches of the appliques are composed of exquisitely twisted foliate motifs. The grease guards appear to have not so much been designed to catch the candle wax drippings as to allow it to drain away.
The backplate features the percé à jour that is so characteristic for Nicolas Pineau models and designs. The striking upward movement of the asymmetrical arms, characteristic of the Rococo period, is very convincingly rendered.
Nicolas Pineau (1684 – Paris - 1754) was the son of Jean Baptiste Pineau "sculpteur ordinaire du Roi". Nicolas studied architecture under Hardouin Mansart and Boffrand and attended the course of sculpture studies at the Académie de Saint-Luc. He later worked together with goldsmith Thomas Germain.
From 1717 to 1727, Pineau was at the court of Tsar Peter the Great in St. Peterburg, where he was responsible for the decorative sculpture and later even for some of the architectural designs. After returning to Paris in 1727, he designed interiors, furniture and lighting, often in collaboration with the architect François Blondel.
Pineau’s work was famous for its balanced distribution of asymmetrical ornamentation in decorative sculpture and architecture. Together with Juste Aurèle Meissonnier and Jacques de Lajoüe, he was considered the inventor of the exuberant "genre pittoresque", which would later become known as the "Rococo" style.
Although Pineau did not regularly design for bronze casters, he did make various striking models for wall appliques (fig. 1, since 1908 in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris).
Pineau’s designs are renowned most for his characteristic "percé à jour" motif (the pierced areas) in rocailles, which does not solely appear in models for lighting, but clearly also plays a significant role in his designs for console tables, consoles and mirror frames.
Art Dealer, London
Private Collection, Belgium
Cat. tent., Designing the Decor, French Drawings from the eighteenth Century, met teksten van Peter Führing, Lissabon 2005.
Hans Ottomeyer & Peter Pröschel, Vergoldete Bronzen, die Bronzearbeiten des Spätbarock und Klassizismus, München 1986, p. 140, fig. 2.11.9