It's the romance of it, isn't it - wondering who was the artist who once used this set, and what fine paintings resulted. Most likely it was an amateur, but just perhaps, it might have belonged to Monet - imagine it! Anensemble of Bourgeois Aine marked bricks of fine antique watercolors, apparently some sued but still hold all the promise of the artist within. This Belle Epoque era painting set is as close to 'new' as is possible for a set nearly 100 years of age. The old box hardly shows age and is one of, if not the, finest of these old painter's boxes that we've had the pleasure to find and offer! Stunning rosewood veneers with Art Nouveau style white metal and mother of pearl inlays, including two small cream colored flowers and even an insect! Open it and see that whomever was fancied an artist and so rewarded with this set did use it somewhat but most of those paints are nearly complete. Alas, who knows what works of art never were created by a would-be artist who cherished the new set too well to use it. The loss to humanity can't be calculated, doubtless. But to our benefit, a lovely boxed art set remains for display or to bring out the artist in its next owner. The box lid opens to what appears to be a hand painted scene in the lid, "Bourgeois Aine" bordering, an upper tray with many original watercolor cakes, some tools and several glass & porcelain mixing pots. A wonderful set, beautifully preserved! The inner lid framing is marked "Bourgeois Aine", the base of the box with "No. 154", most of the paints are visibly marked "Bourgeois Aine".
Before opening the store in 1867, its founder François Alexandre Joseph Bourgeois (b. 1830) had invented alizarin lacquer, which led to the production of some of the first nontoxic paints. By 1898, Bourgeois Ainé was operating out of a storefront located at 18 rue Croix des Petits Champs (now 24 rue des Petits-Champs) and was affiliated with three factories in the outskirts of Paris. The shop's inventory expanded to include tubes of paint as well as a full array of artist supplies, ranging from specially designed paint boxes, brushes, pastels, watercolors, and easels, to stools, shade umbrellas, and a variety of canvases (including the wooden frame that supports the canvas of Picasso's The Scallop Shell: "Notre Avenir est dans L’Air”, c.1912).
In 1965, Bourgeois Ainé merged with Lefranc et Cie to become Lefranc Bourgeois, a company that exists to this day. • Founder : François Alexandre Joseph Bourgeois (né en 1830) • son fils Joseph Antoine Valentin Bourgeois (1857-1943)
Expositions attended by Bourgeois Aine: • 1873 Vienne (médaille de mérite) • 1876 Philadelphie (médaille) • 1878 Paris (médaille d'argent) • 1889 Paris (2 médailles d'or, 1 médaille d'argent) • 1900 Paris (3 médailles d'or) • 1904 Saint-Louis (Grand Prix) • 1906 Milan (Grand Prix) • 1907 Bruxelles (Grand Prix) • 1908 Londres (Grand Prix)
Very good to excellent condition. There are a few missing pieces surely and some of the paints, as you can see are used and broken to some extent. The box itself is in superb shape. See pictures for all measurements.
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