Fine and Decorative Art

Fine and Decorative Art

Welcome to the Fine and Decorative Art Gallery.  In this space, you’ll find some examples of the various pieces that have come into my possession over the years.  Some of these treasures I still own, while others have found new homes with fellow collectors or at museums and galleries.  In all cases, they’ve moved me deeply, and, collectively, they represent the tangible manifestation of my own passion for the creative, brilliant works of mankind.  Here in The Renaissance Garden Guy, you’ll find various pieces I’ve written (analyses, interviews, book reviews) on this very subject in The Fine and Decorative Arts feature category.  Feel free to read what’s there.  In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy these images.  Cheers, and Happy Gardening!

Fine and Decorative Art
Aubusson portiere in a breathtaking floral motif. French, c. 1760. This spectacular piece is 13'-6" tall, and 8'-6" wide. It frames a curvy demilune cabinet of the Napolean III Second Empire period, manufactured in Paris sometime between 1852 and 1870. It features individual design elements that can be found in each of the three grand Louis styles of the18th century. I've always thought that this particular ensemble is stunning.
Fine and Decorative Art
Important patinated bronze figural sculpture by Henri Désiré Gauquié. Titled in Latin, "Nil Virtuti Invium" ("No Virtue Without Struggle"). 34" high. Paris, c. 1890.
Fine and Decorative Art
Various details from the Gauquié work.
Fine and Decorative Art
"Nil Virtuti Invium" signed "H. Gauquie."
Fine and Decorative Art
A very fine Roman bronze fibula (zoomorphic brooch) in the form of a bull. From the Roman Imperial Period. Circa 2nd century AD. This is an absolutely correct and important treasure from the ancient world.
Fine and Decorative Art
Oak coffer. Late Elizabethan Period/early Jacobean Period. Circa 1585-1605. English.
Fine and Decorative Art
Is this peasant genre scene Flemish Baroque? Or by one (or all) of les frères Le Nain from the same period? The chiaroscuro fits. But nope, the clothing is all wrong. It's English. Academic. Circa 1870. It's got a remarkable provenance and an incredible attribution, but without a signature to remove all doubt, I'm keeping mum on the artist. Oil on canvas. 52"x41". A masterpiece.
Fine and Decorative Art
Detail from the above English peasant genre scene. The artist's use of chiaroscuro (light and shadow) is masterful.
Fine and Decorative Art
Another detail of the same work. This painting is a remarkable example of the peasant genre scene, which was a popular subject among artists and art schools and movements, from the Baroque period through the early 20th century, throughout Europe.
Fine and Decorative Art
This absolutely correct Trumeau mirror from the Directoire/Consulat period (French, c. 1795-1799) features the typical Directoire/Consulat style accoutrements including arrows and quivers and a salpinx (war trumpet).
Unbelievable Speed 2023
Fine and Decorative Art
Youth with Goat. Patinated bronze. Belle Époque. Paris, c. 1880.
Fine and Decorative Art
Putto with Violin. Carrara marble. Italian, c. 1870.
Fine and Decorative Art
The sumptuous, asymmetrical, twisted, and sinuous lines of the Louis XV Rococo are evident in this fabulous mid-18th century fireplace mantel. The "shell" part of Rococo's "rocaille et coquille" (rock and shell) phraseology is clearly evident in this photo collage.
Fine and Decorative Art
"Sedona, Arizona" by American artist Nicole Willbur. 2022. Watercolor on Arteza self-framing paper. 7" x 8.6". I purchased this gorgeous work as a gift for my mate, Dee Dee, on the occasion of her 71st birthday.
Fine and Decorative Art
"Custer State Park, South Dakota" by Nicole Willbur. 2022. Watercolor on Arteza self-framing paper. 7" x 8.6". This stunning work was purchased by my mother, Bessie Stamos, as a gift for Dee Dee's birthday the same year.
Fine and Decorative Art
The two Willbur works hang on one of the most visible sections of main floor wall in my house.
Fine and Decorative Art
Details from a magnificent Belle Époque period mahogany vitrine by François Linke, c. 1895-1899, with gilt bronze mounts manufactured for Linke by Léon Messagé. In this museum-quality piece, Linke and Méssagé have infused the already florid Louis XV Rococo with elements of their own remarkable style to create a visually stunning, and perfectly constructed 19th century interpretation of Louis' 18th century style. This cabinet is a triumph of French furniture design and construction. The "crab" cartouche, visible in the lower right photo, is a hallmark of Linke furniture. Paris, c. 1895-1899.
Fine and Decorative Art
This Louis XV style commode (c. 1895) by master cabinet maker Victor Raulin is venerred in bois de violette (kingwood) with mahogany marquetry, features a Watteauesque oil painting on the door panel, and literally drips with gilt bronze ormulu in a dragon and floral motif. Like Linke's vitrine, Raulin's masterpiece represents the 19th century master's interpretation and "re-invigoration" of the 18th century Louis XV Rococo. Also like Linke's vitrine, this cabinet is a museum-quality piece. Paris, c. 1895.
Fine and Decorative Art
In this ensemble, Louis XV Revival, in the form of Victor Raulin's c.1895 over-the-top Belle Époque rococo commode, meets period Louis XVI in the form of a pair of neoclassical fauteuils (c. 1780) and a spectacular Claude Michel (known as Clodion) neoclassical bronze doré figural sculpture, signed, stamped, and dated 1762, and surmounting a c. 1830s Raingo Frères bronze doré clock. From a design standpoint, the styles get along well together. All pieces are Parisian.
Fine and Decorative Art
Details from the Clodion piece, and the Raingo Frères clock.
Fine and Decorative Art
A pair of Vieux Paris hard paste porcelain gilt tazzas. Jean-Pierre Feuillet. Paris. C. 1820.
Fine and Decorative Art
Detail from the Feuillet pieces.
Fine and Decorative Art
Another Belle Époque period masterpiece, this Henri Honoré Plé Louis XVI style mahogany bureau plat (c. 1890) features Plé's exquisite bronze doré (gilt bronze) mounts and textbook construction. It is also an entirely faithful and exact interpretation of the 18th century Louis XVI neoclassical style. This piece could easily be mistaken for an actual 18th century Louis XVI period piece. Paris, c. 1890.
Fine and Decorative Art
Wilhelm Friedenberg. German. 1873. Oil on canvas.
Fine and Decorative Art
Detail from the Friedenberg work.
Fine and Decorative Art
This Louis XV Period walnut armoire (c. 1730) is an excellent example of 18th century French Provincial furniture. Unlike heavily-adorned, high-style Parisian furniture, which was designed and fabricated for royal, noble, and upper class patrons, furniture made in the provinces during this time targeted a less affluent market, was much simpler of form (although it clearly references the Louis XV Rococo form), and was constructed of simpler, less expensive woods and materials.
Fine and Decorative Art
This magnificent Louis XVI Period neoclassical table (c. 1780) features a number of Neoclassicism's hallmarks: an overall classical building-like appearance with straight, columnar legs, and a lion's head and laurel gilt bronze motif adorning the mahogany frieze. Paris, c. 1780.
Fine and Decorative Art
An amalgam of sorts. Italian Renaissance historicism from American painter Julie Pracht, in a period (c. 1720) French Régence gilt frame. Oil on canvas. 1887.
Fine and Decorative Art
These incredible Régence fauteuils (open armchairs), manufactured 1715-1720, are textbook examples of the French Régence style. Sinuous and flowing, they are nevertheless perfectly symmetrical. Also notice that the cabriole legs - like the legs of Louis XIV Baroque chairs, and unlike so many chairs of the Louis XV Rococo period, are spanned and connected/bolstered by stretchers. I snagged these masterpieces from a dealer who had incorrectly identified them as "Louis XIV style."
Fine and Decorative Art
Detail of one of the Régence fauteuils demonstrates the curvy, yet symmetrical lines of French Régence furniture. This style is the immediate progenitor of the subsequent Louis XV Rococo.
Fine and Decorative Art
"Rosa Aurora" by the Turkish painter and illustrator Ayfer Erbay. 2023. Charcoal and colored pencil on paper. This magnificent work exists only in my digital collection. It was a gift from Ms. Erbay, and it was the subject of a March 2024 RGG interview with the artist.
Fine and Decorative Art
"Molly and Olly" by the amazing English artist Natalia Zhivova. Olly (left), and Molly are not toys. These are gallery-quality handmade works of art, and they're part of Ms. Zhivova's "World of Cuteeli" oeuvre. I'm proud to display this pair of lovely little beings in my home as an important part of my collection. Molly and Olly, Natalia Zhivova, and the storybook world of Cuteeli were the subjects of a February 2022 RGG interview with Ms. Zhivova.
Fine and Decorative Art
This German Baroque Period schrank (c. 1680) features characteristics that closely approximate those of the Louis XIV French Baroque style, including bun feet affixed at biased, projecting plinths at its base, turned columns, ornate carvings, and of course, massive size, overt formality, and solid rectilinearity. The interpretation of the period Baroque style varied throughout Europe from country to country. The next photo collage of a period Italian Baroque piece illustrates this point.
Fine and Decorative Art
This carved, giltwood Italian Baroque torchère is from the third quarter of the 1600s. The Italian Baroque differs from the French interpretation (and the German interpretation, as well) by being more organic and fluid, and featuring Mannerism-inspired (but without Mannerism's hyper-perfection) human forms. The base, however, is not entirely unlike what might be found in a Louis XIV French Baroque piece as it features legs having "hoofed" feet.
Fine and Decorative Art
Terrier puppies. Oil on board. English. 1891.
Fine and Decorative Art
Pastoral scene. Oil on board. English. 1880.
Fine and Decorative Art
This photo collage, and the one that follows, show textbook examples of the French Empire style, which implements motifs emblematic of France's far-flung military conquests and Emperor Napolean I's ambitions of French bellicose global expansion. The mahogany center table (in the 6-photo collage above) features gilt bronze caryatids and sphinxes, and references Napolean's conquest of Egypt. The secrétaire à abattant (fall-front secretary) in the next 2-photo collage features a magnificent flame mahogany veneer and intricate gilt bronze ormolu referencing military campaigns. These Parisian pieces are c. 1805-1810, and are absolute works of art.
Fine and Decorative Art
The mahogany veneer and bronze doré ormolu detailing are remarkable attributes of this French Empire secrétaire à abattant.
Fine and Decorative Art
This magnificent center table features textbook 18th century Louis XV period rococo styling and detail. Its sinuous, giltwood construction, Limoges porcelain insets, and bronze doré mounts could easily lead an observer to believe it was true to the period. It is, however, a Belle Époque period (c. 1875) Louis XV revival piece.
Fine and Decorative Art
Shells, flowers, and acanthus leaves adorn the frieze and textbook S-shaped cabriole legs of this period, early Louis XV Rococo console table (c. 1730). Paris.
Fine and Decorative Arts
A pair of Louis XVI period neoclassical fauteuils (open armchairs), Paris, c. 1780. True to the Louis XVI Neoclassical conceit, the design and construction of these fabulous chairs references classical architecture.
Fine and Decorative Arts
The maker's signature and guild-mandated stamp appeared to have been intentionally ground out. Their quality and construction details, however, identify them as nothing other than Louis XVI period chairs.

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