Monday, February 13, 2017
J. Cellier, the Sunburst Specialist
The Georges Geffroy book, about which I wrote last week, has prompted me to revisit my paltry collection of fifties-era issues of the French arts and design magazine, Connaissance des Arts. Dipping back into these magazines, I became reacquainted with a series of advertisements that have long intrigued me: those of J. Cellier, a Paris-based antiques restorer. What initially caught my eye were the ads' black-and-white photographs of gilt sunbursts. (You know how I love a decorative sunburst.) Reading the ads' text, I came to understand that this restorer specialized in Louis XIV-era sunbursts (the motif that was, of course, the symbol of the Sun King), though gilding and lacquer seemed to have rounded out the firm's expertise. Looking at these ads in 2017, when the audience for antiques sadly seems to be shrinking, I find it remarkable that a restorer, one who, perhaps, could have even been a dealer in these wares, once had the luxury- not to mention the depth of knowledge- to specialize in such niche forms of the decorative arts. But then, looking at the magazine's other ads, I see that such specific concentrations were not unusual, but, to some degree, standard practice. In fact, one Paris antiquaire advertised its expertise in wooden cherubs! My, how times have changed.
I've Googled "J. Cellier" but have been unable to unearth much information about this firm. Did the business trace its roots back to Jerome Cellier, an eighteenth-century clock-maker? How long was J. Cellier in existence? And, was it the go-to sunburst restorer for French connoisseurs? Unless you can share any information, I may never know. Nevertheless, now seems like a good time to indulge in some photos of the always-radiant and always-pleasing sunburst.