Philippe Caffieri

Dates1714 - 1774, master 1743

Bronze caster Philippe Caffieri was an astute businessman. Under his direction, the Caffieri family workshop prospered, allowing him to become a wealthy patron of the arts. He invested in drawings and paintings by such artists as Rembrandt, François Boucher, and Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin.

Philippe went into partnership with his father Jacques Caffieri in 1747 and then succeeded his father as sculpteur-ciseleur ordinaire du roi (Sculptor and Bronze Caster to the King) in 1755. Unfortunately, as both father and son signed their works Caffieri, scholars sometimes have difficulty distinguishing the early works of Philippe from those of his father.

The Caffieris worked extensively for the French court, producing gilt bronze wall lights, firedogs, and clocks for the palaces of Versailles and Compiègne; Philippe also produced pieces for the royal court of Poland. Among his most important works was an altar set designed for the cathedral of Nôtre-Dame in Paris; this disappeared when the church was pillaged during the French Revolution. Most of Philippe's designs were produced in the heavy, early Neoclassical style known as goût grec.

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