Silver decanter for wine
Artist/Maker: Emile Puiforcat (EP)
Place and Date of Production: France, Paris, second half of 19th century
Materials, technic: silver: 950*, glass, casting, engraving, gilding
Dimensions: height - 31 cm

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This family cutler, founded in Paris in 1820 by Emile Puiforcat and his two cousins, owes most of its renown to Jean Puiforcat, from the fourth generation of the family, who was to write the most beautiful pages of its history almost a century later, and would establish the company in the avant-garde of modern silverwork. Driven by his father, louis-Victor Puiforcat, the company began evolving towards the high-end of the silversmith’s trade in the late nineteenth century, recreating eighteenth-century masterpieces from his collection that are now exhibited at the louvre museum in Paris. His son Jean was named a master silversmith in 1920. Immersed in the wave of artistic change that characterised the period between the wars, he was one of the founders of the Union des artistes modernes in 1929, and was a friend of René Herbst, le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Chareau. He was passionate about sculpture and invented a revolu-tionary formal language that advocated adapting form to suit func-tion.

His unfussy style – characterised by pure, architectural lines, notable simplicity and the marriage of solid silver with other precious materials such as exotic woods, semi-precious stones and shagreen – is inspired by Art déco and was the founding stone for contemporary high-end silverwork. His work is regularly revived and still exudes the same spirit we see in contemporary in-house collections. Puiforcat came under the wing of the Hermès group in 1993 and, sustained by an exceptional know-how, it now works on re-launching its most beautiful heritage pieces as well as devising tomorrow’s classics with the help of present-day designers. The solid steel cutlery set Zermatt, designed by Patrick Jouin and launched in 2010, has already been included in the permanent collections of the Museum at the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Museum of Arts and Design in new york.

1820:House founded by Jean-Baptiste Fuchs in the Marais Quarter of Paris

1857: Emile Puiforcat, Jean-Baptiste Fuchs’ cousin, patents the house hallmark: a lozenge in the center of an office letter-opener bearing his initials, EP.

1902: The husband of Laure Puiforcat, Louis-Victor Tabouret, assumes the management of the company and begins to collect antique pieces to serve as reference and inspiration for Puiforcat silversmiths.

1915: Louis-Victor Tabouret takes the name Louis-Victor Puiforcat by decree.

1920: Given the title ‘ Maître Orfèvre’, Master Silversmith, his son Jean collaborates on the new Puiforcat collections.

1925-31: Jean Puiforcat introduces the flat surface and the straight line in silverware, a technique which he masters.

1937: Perfection of the curve, much softer lines, plays of light and shadows.

1940: Jean Puiforcat leaves for Mexico.

1945: Jean Puiforcat dies in Paris, where he had come to find silversmiths to work in his atelier.

1955: Louis-Victor Puiforcat dies. The shipbuilder Stavros Niarchos acquires the classic silver collection which he bequeaths to the Louvre Museum on condition of usufruct rights.

1993: Puiforcat joins the Hermès Group.