Absolutely the best-of-class and one of only 8 ever made… A rare once-in-a-lifetime chance to acquire a historical piece of museum quality French enamel!
An Identical Example of This Piece (different edition number) Sold at Rago Auctions for $6250
PLUS Buyer’s Premium (typically 28%) in 2016.
It was estimated at $6000 to $9000.
Today we are elated to offer for sale the rarest-of-the-rare, number 1 of 8, Camille Faure Limoges large and important enameled “The Lady and the Unicorn” enameled covered ginger jar! And condition is flawless!
Camille Fauré, Maitre Emailleur (master enameller) was a world-renowned French enamel artist best known for his design work for the pottery company Limoges. Fauré’s use of floral and figurative patterning as well as richly glazed colors were hallmarks of his work. Born in 1872 in Periguex, France, he apprenticed for several years before producing his own designs. First establishing himself at the Au Vase Etrusque shop in Paris, he went on to exhibit at the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in 1925. This exhibition famously gave rise to the term Art Deco. Fauré died in 1956 in Paris, France. Fauré was the proprietor of the shop, Atelier Faure, that produced the enamels inspired by the artists of avant-garde movements, especially Fernand Léger and Robert and Sonia Delauney. During the years 1919-1924, Fauré partnered with fine enamelists Alexandre Marty and his daughter, Henriette. They developed a technique of sculpting the enamel into an unusually thick three-dimensional surface, sometimes cutting a sharp edge within the design. By the time they left, they had trained five masters in the technique.
Along with apprentices, they perfected their techniques and were able to faithfully reproduce or repair specific designs as often as needed. Each had his own secrets and strong points and they all worked together for the success of the shop. Fauré’s daughter, Andrée, had become the visionary designer of these wonderful objects. Her bold use of color and sharp, geometric designs caused the work to stand out from others produced during this period. The Art Deco pieces produced 1925-1940, are displayed in museums and collections around the world. Busiest from the 1920’s through the 1950’s, Atelier Fauré continued in production until closing in 1994.
The massive enameled lidded vessel is the epitome of the finest Camille Faure craftsmanship and design. The piece is intricately and expertly crafted of multi-layer vitreous glazed enameled copper, in a baluster “ginger jar” shape with matching lid. Signed “Fauré Limoges France E No. 1/8” on the bottom edge; additionally the piece features a signed Camille Faure Certificate of Authenticity label on the bottom, issued by the Union Chamber of Enamelers of Limousin indicating the vase is entirely hand-crafted by the artist.
The striking and stunning vase features the magnificently hand-painted 360 degree panoramic wrap-around Taste scene from the world-famous The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries.
The Lady and the Unicorn (French: La Dame à la licorne) is the modern title given to a series of six tapestries woven in Flanders from wool and silk, from designs drawn in Paris around 1500. The set is considered one of the greatest works of art of the Middle Ages in all of Europe. The set is on display in the Musée National du Moyen Âge (see last photo), housed in the magnificent Gothic Renaissance mansion known as the Hôtel de Cluny, which was partially constructed on the remnants of the third century Gallo-Roman baths known as the Thermes de Cluny, (from the Roman era of Gaul). The museum consists of two buildings: the frigidarium (“cooling room”), within the vestiges of the Thermes de Cluny, and the Hôtel de Cluny itself, which houses its collections.
The subject of the tapestries are complex, and scholars generally agree that they present a meditation on earthly pleasures and courtly culture, offered through an allegory of the five senses – taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch. The sixth displays the words “À mon seul désir” (My only desire). The tapestry’s meaning is obscure, but has been interpreted as also representing love or understanding. It can also be interpreted as the old fairytale of a unicorn which is captured and brought to a princess’ garden, but a lion is jealous of the new acquisition while other garden residents (animals) ignore it. But the unicorn only wants to be free, causing further problems in his new home.
Each of the six tapestries depicts a noble lady with the mystical unicorn on her left and the mighty lion on her right; some include a monkey or dog in the scene.
Taste depicts a lush garden with towering fruit trees and beautiful aristocratic noblewoman with light hair and alabaster skin, wearing a luxurious golden brocade embroidered gown, taking costly sweets from a gold tazza held by a young and lovely lady-in-waiting. Her eyes are on an exotic parakeet on her upheld left hand. Her delicate veil in her headdress gently blows in the wind. The lion and the unicorn are both standing on their hind legs reaching up to pennants that frame the lady on either side. A small white pet dog sits patiently on the train of the woman’s dress waiting for a sweet to drop. A pair of birds fly above the women while a rabbit joyfully hops along. Other animals picture include a large white dog with fanciful collar, a pair of quails, a goat, a pair of birds, and another rabbit.
The vase features a magnificent translucent sang de boeuf ground overlaid with delicate cascading white flowers. The pennants, as well as the armour of the Unicorn and Lion in the tapestry bear the arms of the sponsor, Jean Le Viste, a powerful nobleman in the court of King Charles VII. However, a very recent study of the heraldry appears to lend credence to another hypothesis – previously dismissed – that the real sponsor of the tapestry was Antoine II Le Viste (1470–1534), a descendant of the younger branch of the noble Le Viste family and an important figure at the court of Charles VIII, Louis XII and François I.
The tapestries are created in the style of mille-fleurs (meaning: “thousand flowers”) which were a specialty of weaving workshops in Flanders, particularly Bruges and Brussels. The tapestries were rediscovered in 1841 by Prosper Mérimée at the Chateau de Boussac (owned at the time by the subprefect of the Creuse) where they had been suffering damage from their storage conditions. In 1844 the renowned novelist George Sand saw them and brought public attention to the tapestries in her works at the time (most notably in her novel Jeanne), in which she correctly dated them to the end of the fifteenth century, using the ladies’ costumes for reference. Nevertheless, the artifacts continued to be threatened by dampness and mould until 1863, when they were brought to the Thermes de Cluny in Paris. Careful conservation has restored them nearly to their former glory.
The fine craftsmanship and execution of the painted scene vividly displays Faure exceptional and imaginative talent. The piece will become the crowning jewel of any Camille Faure and antique enamel collection. The vase presents beautifully and is in excellent antique condition, with very minimal display wear and patina commensurate with age. There is minor patination to exposed brass (the entire vase is made from brass but mst f it is covered in enamel). No chips, cracks, dings, scratches, or restorations of any kind. Just as you’d dream for.
Bring splendor and haut talent artistique to any interior with this stunning vase. An opportunity like this won’t last long… Fresh to the market!
Dimensions: 15-1/4″ in height, 8-3/4″ in diameter (at the widest point)
NOTE: Shipping cost includes full insurance. We do not mark up shipping.