André Charles Boulle (1642-1732)

French cabinetmaker, André Charles Boulle is generally considered to be the preeminent artist in the field of Baroque marquetry.

Example of Boulle Marquetry from the Wallace Collection, London

image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Charles_Boulle#/media/File:Example_of_Boulle_Marquetry_from_the_Wallace_Collection_in_London_1.jpg

About his life

André-Charles Boulle, the son of Jean Boulle was of German origin, being born in the Duchy of Guelders. In 1672, Boulle rose from master cabinetmaker to ébéniste du roi, royal cabinetmaker and sculptor to King Louis XIV, known as the “Sun King”. That same year, the king granted him the royal privilege of lodging in the Palais du Louvre. This position allowed Boulle to produce furniture as well as works in gilt bronze, such as chandeliers, wall lights, and mounts for furniture. Although strict guild rules usually prevented craftsmen from practicing two professions simultaneously, Boulle’s favored position allowed him protected status and exempted him from these statutes. He died in 1732, full of fame, years and debts.


info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andr%C3%A9_Charles_Boulle

Chandelier, Boulle, about 1710

What were his major works?

Superb examples of his art exist at Versailles, Fontainebleau, and the Louvre and in England at Windsor Castle and in the Wallace Collection, London. Boulle’s output included commodes, bureaux, armoires, pedestals, clockcases and lighting-fixtures, richly mounted with gilt-bronze that he modeled himself. One of his masterpiece is a cabinet-on-stand (1660), a fine example of the taste for luxurious, Baroque furniture at the court of Louis XIV. The furniture by André-Charles Boulle was never signed by its creator. As a result, many of the Boulle-marquetry pieces in the J. Paul Getty Museum’s collection are noted as “attributed to André-Charles Boulle.”

info source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/people/literature-and-arts/interior-design-and-home-furnishings-biographies/andre-charles-boulle

info source: https://www.khanacademy.org/partner-content/getty-museum/getty-decorative-arts/a/masters-of-marquetry-in-the-17th-century-boulle

info source: http://www.wallacecollection.org/whatson/treasure/94

A cabinet-on-stand attributed to André-Charles Boulle, about 1660

image source: http://www.wallacecollection.org/files/treasures/monthlytreasure_94_mainimagepath__totm-big.jpg

How can we identify Boulle’s style?

Boulle’s style defined the Louis XIV style and it was characterized by elaborate adornment with brass (occasionally engraved) and tortoiseshell marquetry. Although the technique of marquetry was originally used by 16th-century Italian craftsmen, Boulle developed it to a fine art.

He incorporated exotic woods from India and South America.

His personal collection of master drawings, prints, and paintings, from which he extracted much of his inspiration, included works by the 15th–16th-century Italian artist Raphael, the 17th-century Flemish artist Rubens, and the 17th-century Italian engraver Stefano della Bella.

info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Andre-Charles-Boulle

A marquetry scene, Boulle

image source: http://www.getty.edu/museum/media/images/web/enlarge/006328D6V1.jpg

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