Boulle, André Charles


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Boulle or Buhl, André Charles

(both: äNdrā` shärl bo͞ol), 1642–1732, French cabinetmaker, the master of a distinctive style of furniture, much imitated, for which his name has become a synonym. In 1672 he was admitted to a group of skilled artists maintained by Louis XIV in the Louvre palace, and thereafter he devoted himself to creating costly furniture and objects of art for the king and court. Boulle's pieces, having in general the character of Louis XIV and régencerégence style
, transitional style in architecture and decoration originated in France during the regency (1715–23) of Philippe, duc d'Orléans. The most important practitioners of the régence were Gilles Marie Oppenord and Robert de Cotte.
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 design, were built for the immense formal rooms of the period. Boulle, a master of marquetrymarquetry
, branch of cabinetwork in which a decorative surface of wood or other substance is glued to an object on a single plane. Unlike inlaying, in which the secondary material is sunk into portions of a solid ground cut out to receive it, the technique of marquetry applies
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, specialized in the inlaying of ebony with precious woods and mother-of-pearl. Large areas were covered with tortoiseshell, inlaid with arabesques of gilded brass. He added splendid bas-relief compositions, as well as sculptured rosettes, masks, and acanthus scrolls, all in gilded bronze. Superb examples of his art exist at Versailles, Fontainebleau, and the Louvre and in England at Windsor Castle and in the Wallace Collection, London. The title cabinetmaker to the king passed to his four sons, Jean Philippe, Pierre Benoît, André Charles, and Charles Joseph.

Boulle, André Charles

 

Born Nov. 11, 1642, in Paris; died there Feb. 29, 1732. French cabinetmaker and master at the court of Louis XIV (from 1672).

Boulle developed his own style of intarsia (a mosaic made from wood, called marquetry in France), using woods of various textures and tones and copper, bronze, tin, ivory, tortoise shell, and mother-of-pearl. With these materials Boulle created elegant, intricate patterns (primarily floral) that gave the formal shapes of royal furniture a wealth of subtle color. The furniture produced in his workrooms (where his four sons also worked) evolved from the classicism of the 17th century to the rococo. It is preserved for the most part in the Louvre (Paris), Versailles, Fontainebleau, and the Cluny Museum (Paris). A great number of imitations of Boulle’s work (the so-called Boulle style, made primarily in the 19th century) can be found throughout Europe.

REFERENCE

Verlet, P. Les Meubles français du XVIII siècle. Ebénisterie, Paris, 1956.