19th Century French Wrought Iron Gates

Any room or residence looking to make a statement, seek no further than these enormous and imposing French wrought iron gates.  At nearly nine feet high, and having already lasted well over a century, this is a piece fit to guard your fortress or palace with impunity and grace.  The gently rusted patina gives them a sort of mysterious and experienced element that would suit the entrance to a grand, manicured lawn on an old estate.  Decked out with classic, wrought iron acanthus leaves, a rectangular lock detailed with clamshell finnials, and other regal embellishments, these heavy gauge gates have a rich soul without being gaudy.

Wrought iron denotes the decorative and high quality aspect of this piece, specifically that the details are hand worked as opposed to being cast in a mold.  Today this type of piece would almost certainly be entirely cast, and look cheap by comparison.  You can often tell when pieces are cast because they exhibit rough edges where two halves of a detail are welded or screwed together.  For example, the acanthus leaves and clamshells would be cast in two halves, and you’d be able to see an edge in the center.  As this piece is wrought of solid iron instead of cast though, all the details are crisp and clean, ready to withstand the next century of wear and tear.

 

wrought iron gates

The French styling is apparent through its relative minimalism for the times.  These gates may seem quite detailed in these days, but if these were Italian from the same era, there would likely be far more embellishment, and every corner would be festooned with some kind of sculptural detail.  The Italians were also more likely to use literal imagery, for example mythical figures, or characters than the French, which tend toward the abstract leaves, and scrolls.

Available at Le Louvre French Antiques in Dallas.

Monday, October 8th, 2012

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Art Deco Wrought Iron Fire Screen by Paul Kiss

Thanks to the distinctive hammered workmanship, this wrought iron fire screen makes a bold statement.  Signed by master metalworker Paul Kiss, the combination of the highly textured material along with the brilliant imagery of the piece creates a compelling overall statement.  Kiss worked in Paris during the height of the art deco movement, and while he was perhaps more famous for his work in lighting, this fire screen is something special.  In the center, a scalloped brazier cradles a roaring fire shooting coals out from all sides and then clouding into curvy smoke in the corners.  Framed in a thick border with a wave design at the base and then seated on scrolled feet, it’s a mercifully sized piece that would be perfect to anchor a cozy study.

wrought iron fireplace screen

Available at Colletti Gallery in Chicago.

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

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Fanciful Wrought Iron 1940’s Apartment Gates

I’ve posted other wrought-iron pieces on the site before, but none as colorful as these.  While iron can often seem like a crude material, it only takes a master craftsman to show you how refined wrought iron can be.  In this case, that master is the famous 20th century French metal worker, Raymond Subes who was active in Paris from the 20s through the 60s and made his mark by supplying beautiful iron work to a number of famous ocean liners, hotels, and other historical buildings in the city of light and beyond.  This particular piece has fantastic patina, but still pops thanks to a splash of aged coral and gilt color that plays well off the chocolate tones of the iron.  What really sets this piece apart though are the gorgeous curves.  Swooping, interlocked loops of varied weight balance the overall look, and iconic period embellishments ooze a style that would be quite at home in a city penthouse in New York or Paris.

wrought iron gate

Available at Paul Stamati Gallery in New York, who incidentally has a magnificent selection of wrought iron work of a similar style.

Sunday, October 7th, 2012

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Wrought-Iron Italian Gates Circa 1800

These wrought-iron gates wouldn’t look right on just any fabulous mansion – you’d need a certain quirky demeanor in the owner and the property to pull it off, I would say.  I think what I enjoy most about these iron gates is how they have a three-dimensional quality, particularly in the center.  The iron teardrops, scrolls, leaves, and just overall sense of whimsy is so convincing.  You might even say this gate has a delicate feel to it!  Hardly something to search out in a gate, but a design feat nonetheless to create something so light and airy out of wrought iron.

Available as Lot 133 in the Hanham Court – Pastoral Idyll Auction until April 14th at Christie’s London –  South Kensington.

Italian Wrought Iron Gates

Monday, April 12th, 2010

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