Relevant categories: Cabinets and Chests
(Above photo - Pair Empire Pedestal Stands )
Francois Linke is one of the most celebrated French furniture makers of his time. He was born in 1855 in the Czech Republic and traveled to Prague followed by Paris in 1875. That year, he became an apprentice to a German cabinet maker (he is thought to be Neumann) in Paris. Francois worked with this cabinet maker for two years, leaving the apprenticeship in 1877.
(Above photo - Pair Empire Commodes Chests of Drawers - Louis XVI Linke )
By 1881, Linke had established furniture workshops in the Faubourg St. Antoine and became a furniture supplier for other established makers. During the ensuing decade, the French were preparing to host another major art and crafts fair in towards the end of the century. As part of the preparation for the festival, Gustave Eiffel constructed one of the most iconic buildings in Paris, the Eiffel Tower.
Therefore Linke sought to make a mark by entering his furniture pieces in the upcoming festival. There was ab appeal from some of the most prominent figures in France to furniture makers like Linke to create unique pieces. After all, it would not have presented a good image if all they did was to reproduce what the masters had created in the past. Thus, Linke was one of the designers that took the challenge seriously, creating unique pieces such as the Grand Bureau.
What Drove Linke?
(Above photo - Pair Empire Commodes - Ormolu Cherub Linke Chest Drawers )
Well, Francois Linke wanted to perform much better than the existing competition. Therefore, he set out to create the most innovative pieces of furniture he could manage. In these pieces, he wanted to be as extravagant as possible. By working so hard to impress, Francois Linke was the single most driving force behind the transition from Louis XV to Louis XVI styles.
He worked together with Leone Message to develop a fresh style ready for the 1900 Exhibition, which recognized the fluidity of Louis XV’s Rococo with the fine lines of the newer Art Nouveau style. Therefore, his stand became the biggest shows during that year’s exhibition and influenced furniture design into the new century.
What Influence Did Francois Linke Have?
(Above photo - XL French Empire Sideboard - Linke Buffett Commode Chest )
As a result of the 1900 Exhibition, Linke became a major influence in the French furniture-making industry. His superior work became popular in France eclipsing the best furniture houses in Paris. Thus, he cemented his name in history as one of the most important furniture makers transcending the late 19th century and the early 20 century.
Today, Francois Linke’s work is some of the most sought after by collectors all over the world. That’s because his work exemplified standout innovation at a time when most designers were stuck on the Rococo style. He didn’t want to operate in the past but chose to combine Rococo style with the more forward-looking Art Nouveau style.
(Above photo - Pair French Empire Commodes - Ornate Commodes Chests of Drawers )
The main success of Francois Linke lay in his ability to recognize prevailing furniture styles together with the modern ones. In a way, he ushered in what would become the new style of the 20 century. His furniture house, La Maison Linke was popular in the new century until the beginning of the Second World War.
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