Rare highlight French Japonism presented at PAN 2015

Something unlikely happened shortly before the opening of PAN, the art and antiques fair in Amsterdam: we were able to add a rare highlight of French 19th century Japonism to our collection. So far, only 2 of these are known to exist, and 1 of them we currently exhibit at PAN. It is this miniature silver guilt carriage clock by Gustave Baugrand, with enamelling by Antoine Tard.

Dick Verburg, for over 40 years the antique watch specialist of Dekker Antiquairs: ‘In 1867 Japan had a pavilion at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Not long before the country reopened to the rest of the world, so everything Japanese was highly popular. One of the techniques in which the Japanese excelled was cloisonné enamelling: bright colours applied in between extremely thin threads of gold. This miniature carriage clock was made in the years after this world exhibition, with cloisonné enamelled decorations in Japanese style – this technique is thousands years old and experienced a revival in Europe in the 19th century. This miniature carriage clock by Baugrand is an absolute highlight of French Japonism and extremely rare.’  

Gustave Baugrand and Antoine Tard

Gustave Baugrand mostly made jewelry, amongst others for Empress Eugénie, wife of Emperor Napoleon III. These days his jewels are rare and very much sought after. Within the total production of Baugrand, this miniature carriage clock is an exception. Antoine Tard is best known for the enamelling on the jewels in Japanese style made by Falize. The interior of the door on the back is enamelled in Royal blue and bears the signature of Baugrand in gold letters inspired by Japanese calligraphy.    


The dress by Jan Taminiau worn by Queen Máxima of the Netherlands during this year’s State Opening of Parliament was decorated with flowers inspired by those in the Japanese Room in Huis ten Bosch Palace. Great painters like Van Gogh, Monet, Manet and Klimt all produced works in the Japanese style, and Madame Butterfly by Puccini is an example of Japonism in music.     

Photos: Harry Heuts/PAN Amsterdam

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