La Maison des Bambous is a very important company in the French furniture history inspired by the Far-East. This company is first dedicated to the creation of furniture in a Chinese-Japanese taste before also sell works of art from China and Japan, two activities that help increase its good reputation in France and worldwide between the end of the 19th century and the 20th century. If the study of the Commerce directory of Didot-Bottin allows the historical reconstitution of the house, on the other hand the 19th century newspaper’s study permits to appreciate the reputation of the house and to stay the closest to what it was back then.
The beginings : Alfred Perret father
In 1874, appears for the first time in the directory, the name of Perret. He is then designated as furniture maker, on the 22 rue de la Roquette in Paris. In 1879, while the furniture maker Perret does not longer appear, A. Perret is signaled in the category Bamboo articles. Located on the 30 rue du Quatre-Septembre, he is specialized in bamboo furniture, planters, sentry boxes. Thus, we can affirm that the Perret company is from its beginnings oriented toward the furniture creation inspired by Asia, according to the period taste. This short note also teaches us that Alfred Perret was present in the 1878 World’s Fair, which proves that he was already known at this date.
The following year, he is also registered in the category Furniture and decoration for gardens as producer of chairs, armchairs, sofa, wicker tables and garden furniture.
The beginnings of the Japanese furniture
From 1884, the activity is again developped by extending to the trifle furniture and one year after is used on the same category the designation “small living room bamboo furniture and lacquer, Chinese and Japanese furniture”. We can then say that the beginning of the sculpted wood furniture, especially the one inspired by the Asian style. Some of these creations are very close to Gabriel Viardot’s creations. Nevertheless, the main production of the house will stay until at least the 1890’s the bamboo and rattan chair.
Perret father and son and Vibert
In 1886, Alfred Perret’s son, who bares the same name, and Ernest Vibert join the company which becomes « Perret père et fils et Vibert ». The official deed for the creation is signed on May 31st, 1890 by Maître Mouchet. Perret, father and son, and Vibert are associated equally : each of them will receive 500 francs each month, the profit and the losts will be shared between them once in a year.
The sell of Chinoiseries and Japoneries
The Didot-Bottin teaches us that the house has a new activity from 1887. In addition of selling their creations, the sell to their clientele « Chinoiseries and Japoneries » : true objects coming from the Far-East among which there are bronzes, porcelain, ivory, jade or lacquer…
Publicity published in Bijou-Théâtre in 1885
Paris World's Fair
The house participates to the 1889 World’s Fair and wins two silver medals, highest reward according to the industry.
The Horticulture Exhibition and the Universal Exhibition, International and Colonial of Lyon
This same year, they participate to the Exposition d’Horticulture in the Tuileries during which they win the first price for their garden furniture. They receive the visit of Impress Eugénie, accompanied with M. Piétri and the Princesse Mathilde who orders furniture for her property of Saint-Gratien.
Moreover, the house exhibits a selection of their Chinoiseries and Japoneries collection during the Exposition Universelle, Internationale et Coloniale of Lyon on the same year. They will present there columns, panels, parsasol, inlaid furniture, a red lacquer panel from the Tonkin etc.
The exhibition in the gallery
In 1895, the company adds the name Maison des Bambous, and in May of the same year, Perret and Vibert organize with success an exhibition of furniture and chairs for castles and villas. The Impress Eugénie, which is one of the regular important client, goes very often in the gallery, this time to buy furniture for her Cap Martin’s villa. Mrs de Marsy, actress in the Comédie Française, buys there « a ravishing Louis XV furniture of rattan lacquered in white and gold, and the duke de Montmorency, buys Chinse pieces of art.
In octobre 1895, it’s another guest of honnor who is received in the galleru : The Greek king Georges Ist, who « chose a variety of these pretty furniture and chairs in sculpted wood and decorated bamboo » for his winter palace near Athens.
La Maison des Bambous furnishes also chairs and tables for the prestigious yachts Eros and Britannia belonging to the Prince of Wales.
The duchess of Montpensier comes to buy for her castle of Sevilla some pearled blinds from Japan and leather and bamboo chairs.
The american Vanderbilt, member of the iconic family from the Gilded Age in the United States, orders for the arrangement of his lobby and greenhouse of New York, a whole collection of rattan chairs, planters, natural bamboo furniture, screens and Japan decorative art.
In 1896, it’s the Portugal queen, Amélie d’Orléans, accompanied by Mrs de Vasconcellos, who bought diverse objetcs destined for her palace of Cascades, and the maréchal Yamagata, military and Japanese State man, very influent in the Meiji era. He was seduced by their huge collection coming from the Far-East and the trifle la Maison des Bambous gave to the Asian art.
Perret and Vibert also participate to the 1900 Word’s Fair in the section « Luxury and cheap furniture ». They are rewarded with a silver medal.
The water colors
From 1903, the Maison presented very finished models in watercolor to give an exact indication of the result, then took care of the complete installations. These models are a real gold mine for us. They allow us to appreciate the commercial techniques of Perret and Vibert, their real talent for interior compositions as well as the diversity of the productions of the company which offers a wide choice of all unique objects. For Perret and Vibert, it is therefore no longer just a question of selling objects in a scattered way, but of selling entire and harmonious arrangements in which customers can already project themselves. In short, Perret and Vibert seem to have wanted to create the ideal interior, harmonious and cohesive.
t Through hese watercolors the Perret and Vibert style is revealed, which can be summed up, using the words of a critic of the time, as “the comfortable Parisian embellished with a pretty shade of exotic fantasy”. In the pretty interiors where a soft light diffuses, the furniture, the decorations and other hangings, painted with great attention to detail, have been arranged with a certain planning science. The choice of the watercolor technique is also not insignificant, which echoes the delicate Chinese and Japanese prints which, for half a century now, have invaded Europe.
Last name modification
In 1911, the name is changed again to « Galerie d’art Perret et Vibert »
In 1917, the new headquarters of the house moved to the branch at 170, boulevard Haussmann, acquired a few years earlier, in 1893.
The company was subsequently taken over by Gaston Vibert, Ernest’s son.
Shop's final closing down
The House closed its doors in 1994 but today enjoys a certain reputation, particularly for its creations of the last century, reflections of a taste for distant lands as well as of a certain elitist art of living.
Advertisement published in “Le Cri” in 1913
Discover our other websites
dedicated to houses and artists of the second half of the 19th century
L'Escalier de Cristal
Gentil & Bourdet
120 rue des Rosiers 93400
+33 (0)6 60 62 61 90
Copyright © Marc Maison | 2021
Politique de confidentialité