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J.B. Hirsch Bookends, Contemplar By Henri Fugere

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    Posted 7 years ago

    (222 items)

    These bookends by Henri Fugere are the product of the H.B. Hirsch Foundry of NYC which produced a lot of statuettes, bookends and lamps. Most often misidentified as being by Gerdago only because a lot of her statues had big hats, but not as nice as this hat !!

    The bookends are in The Encyclopedia of Bronzes, Sculptors & Founders, 1830 to 1930 and the author was Harold Berman who was given the information that these bookends were by Henri Fugere circa 1930. The Hirsch family gave him that information, as they owned the original moulds. Harold Berman worked closely with the Hirsch foundry, was one of their biggest fans and actually was working in their bronze foundry where he learned some of the processes. He considered it one of the best, if not the best, foundries in North America at the time he wrote his books, late 70's to earliest 1980's. Unfortunately by the middle of the 80's, Mr. Berman had passed away.

    Harold Berman was a big fan of the quality pieces of the Hirsch Foundry, particularly of the spelter "French Bronze" statues they produced and the Encyclopedia that Berman wrote shows a lot of their higher end work also, particularly of the "Collection Francaise".
    The Hirsch Foundry had received some special information that the original moulds were buried under the floors of the bronze foundries during the war periods and after the second world war were dug up by the Hirsch family, who had the knowledge of their whereabouts with sketched out maps, and the story reads like a real life treasure hunt.

    This set has no date but I believe the Hirsch family were producing these especially after 1946 and also in 1966 when they had a big show in NYC showing their new work at that time. They produced some nice ones with alabaster bases and also nice black marble bases mainly, using ivorine for the faces, molded separately at that timespan. The earlier alabaster and marble were made with the finest Italian marbles and alabaster cuts. In the later 70's to 81 or so when the foundry closed, they produced ones with metal faces and metal bases. Usually had a special switch on the cord on the lamp variety no later than around 1960-1970. They were made of Spelter at the time the Hirsch Foundry started producing them. The bookends are roughly over 7 inches high and up to 10 with shade height if made into lamps. Around up to about 7 inches wide.

    It is interesting to note that Harold Berman wrote that he does not consider them reproductions but rather "Exemplaires" because they were produced from the original moulds. Also to note is that these pieces are dated as circa 1930 and all pieces are dated that way by the foundry and by Berman because they are made from the original 1930 moulds. As Berman points out these were produced after the second world war and this variety with the bright golds and metallic colours were probably after 1966, as these would have been among the later produced variety of these. I believe that they were being produced until the factory closed down, as these were part of the Collection Francaise. All were hand cold painted by the factory. Some of the earliest production of these most popular bookends of their factory had green marble bases with a shallow well for keys etc to be placed on. The marble was of the finest quality. In one of the episodes of The Twilight Zone you can see one of the earliest that I have seen on a table. It was the episode of man freshly married who cannot leave his mother's house, and becomes her boy again !

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    1. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Thanks brunswick, much appreciated your stop by ! :~)
    2. roddyq roddyq, 7 years ago
      Another informative and interesting read these really look so delicate and well defined!!
    3. Mrstyndall Mrstyndall, 7 years ago
      Gorgeous bookends-very nice detail!
    4. blunderbuss2 blunderbuss2, 7 years ago
      LUV them as expected from your collections.
    5. vintagelamp vintagelamp, 7 years ago
      Really love these!!!
    6. antiquerose antiquerose, 7 years ago
      As always...
    7. racer4four racer4four, 7 years ago
      Not only beautiful, but rare too. Just like you Phil to get an original mould set. I'm amazed by them.
    8. Karenoke Karenoke, 7 years ago
      I love your post....items and history.
      Unique and original, like you!
    9. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Thanks Roddy, I appreciate your comment. The bookends are quite heavy and I have never considered them delicate, although you could say that about the lines. I think the pics somehow add to the delicacy. I know that they are probably the most highly collected art deco in today's market, especially for bookends which I love.
    10. inky inky, 7 years ago
      As usual a great post Phil..and I know you have the best collection of book ends, have seen many beautiful ones over the years..these have to be up them amongst them...fabulous!!!.. :-)
    11. Caperkid, 7 years ago
      Well Phil I love that the bookends are reading books , so detailed and eye catching great post!
    12. bijoucaillouvintage bijoucaillouvintage, 7 years ago
      Oh how I would love these two gorgeous to guard my books! How wonderful. And thank you for the story too!
    13. Manikin Manikin, 7 years ago
      Another exquisite post and so much information . I always love that you share your knowledge with us . Great looking new profile pic too xo
    14. philmac51 philmac51, 7 years ago
      Absolutely stunning Phil - thanks for sharing these wonderful pieces!
    15. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Thanks Mrstyndall, appreciated.
    16. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Many thanks BB2 !
    17. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Vintagelamp, thank you !
    18. Wandlessfairy Wandlessfairy, 7 years ago
      Love the info, love the bookends, love the post.
    19. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Many thanks antiquerose, I appreciate your comment !
    20. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Thank you racer4four, much appreciated comment !
    21. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Thank you Karenoke for your kindness and so nice comment !
    22. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Thanks Inky for the comment !
    23. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 7 years ago
      Thanks Caperkid for the comment !~
    24. courtenayantiques courtenayantiques, 7 years ago
      These are fabulous! Thank-you for sharing the information on them
    25. PostCardCollector PostCardCollector, 7 years ago
      A work of art--really classy!
    26. Virginia.vintage Virginia.vintage, 7 years ago
    27. PostCardCollector PostCardCollector, 6 years ago
      I love Art-Deco!!
    28. PhilDMorris PhilDMorris, 5 years ago
      Thank you bijoucaillouvintage for the comment, I just love these !~

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