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Jacques Caffieri - French Artist From Art History

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Historical Artist - Jacques Caffieri (1678 - 1755)

Jacques Caffieri was born into a family of metal sculptors and became an important French bronze caster during Louis XIV’s reign. His good connections with his uncle, Charles Le Brun who was Louis XIV’s chief designer and painter, helped Caffieri get the position of Sculptor, Bronze Caster and Chaser for the King’s Palaces. In 1740, Caffieri’s wife bought royal permit that allowed the couple to gild and cast bronze in the same workshop. Their son, Philippe joined the business in 1747. Soon they were producing wall lights, furniture mounts, and chandelier, ornament, and coach designs. Their clients included Queen Marie Leczsinska, the king’s mistress Madame de Pompadour, and King Louis XV’s daughter, Madame Elisabeth.

A large proportion of his brilliant achievement as a designer and chaser in bronze and other metals was executed for the crown at Versailles, Fontainebleau, Marly, Compiègne, Choisy and the Château de La Muette, and the crown, ever in his debt, still owed him money at his death. His signature incised in gilt-bronze kept his name alive in the nineteenth century and gained him an entry in Encyclopaedia Britannica 1911, though the extreme Rococo style of which he was a consummate master laid his work open to disapproving commentary. Two monumental gilt-bronze chandeliers in the Wallace Collection, London, bear his signature.

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