Alfred Garnier – ‘The Enchanted Island’ chest, 1900

Alfred Garnier

'The Enchanted Island' chest, 1900

Gold, gilded bronze, enamel on copper, silk
h. 4 1/3 in. (11 cm) - w. 5 3/4 in. (14,5 cm) - w. 3 1/2 in. (9 cm)
Signed AG and dated 1900

PROVENANCE : Untraced from 1900 to 2022 - European art market, 2022.

EXHIBITED : Paris Exposition Universelle, 1900

NOTE : Alfred Garnier (1848-1908) was a famous French enameler and goldsmith. First trained as a sculptor and a chiseler, Garnier worked in prestigious jewelry workshops in Paris. In 1888, he began a fruitful collaboration with another talented French enameler and former teacher Paul-Victor Grandhomme. Their amazing teamwork won them a Gold Medal at the Paris World Fair of 1889. Both Garnier and Grandhomme were particularly celebrated for their use of colors and chemical mastery by peers such as Lucien Falize and acclaimed by the symbolist master Gustave Moreau who worked with them for almost ten years on precious enameled plaques based on his early work. Unfortunately by 1897 the two friends had fallen out and began working independently. Their distinct stands at the 1900 Paris World Fair was widely commented and both were given awards for their work. Luckily the contents of Garnier’s stand was well described in the jury’s final report :

‘He also had (on his stand) a small chest in enamel ; the decor was a landscape which extended to all four sides and the main side represented an island which he called ’The Enchanted Island’. Its clasp was a small female figure.’