Thematic photo album. Felix Chopin Bronze Foundry works
The renowned factory of Felix Chopin is known for its exquisite busts of tsars, small statuary and multifarious decorative objects for the interior. The prosperity of the factory lied in the fact that the talented entrepreneur from France subtly grasped new fashion trends, and in addition, the castings of this factory were characterised by the highest quality, which deserved many positive assessments, they were practically the benchmark. Careful study of competitors' products and the ability to foresee helped Chopin to begin production with small statuary duly. The famous factory was not created from scratch. Felix Chopin became the managing director of Alexander Guerin’s large and lucrative factory in 1841-1842. The French foundry man quickly adapted to the tastes of the local public and current fashion. Guerin mainly produced household and interior items: candlesticks, clocks, inkwells, lamps and other items in the Empire style1). Felix Chopin, while continuing to produce these items, added many items in the Neo-Rococo style2), which had many curves, swirls, and embellishments. Playful figures of putti (small, often winged children) flew across clocks and candlesticks, inkwells and other household and interior items were wrapped in vines, covered with images of fanciful shells and flower bouquets.
All of this met the tastes of the public and fitted in with the style of decoration of palaces and churches. The factory cast luxurious and complicated pieces for the Winter Palace, the Grand Kremlin Palace and other tsar residences, as well as for the doors for the St Isaac Cathedral and Christ the Saviour Cathedral. In 1845, Chopin was awarded the title of the Imperial Court Supplier, he actively participated in various Russian and international exhibitions, which created even more fame for his production.
A special page in the history of the factory is a series of busts of Russian sovereigns. Far from being realistic portraits, they were consonant with the "Russian style" in bronze, which Chopin continued to develop. The busts became widespread and were cast in various materials, from zinc to bronze. At first the busts were produced in life-size, but later Chopin bought a patent for a special device to reduce the sculpture and was able to cast the same sculptures in various sizes. This event contributed to the growing popularity of small statuary produced by the factory, which was placed on the workplace, and was a reflection of the interests, views and wealth of the owner.
As for small sculptures and interior items, Chopin, apart from analogues of the French art works, also collaborated with Russian sculptors. The second half of the 19th century in Russia can be called the heyday of cabinet sculpture and small interior sculpture. The large factory owner F. Chopin co-operated with such celebrated masters as Eugene Lanceray, Artemy Aubert, Mark Antokolsky, Mikhail Mikeshin, Andrey Huhn.
However, in 1888, partly for economic reasons and because of his age, Felix Chopin handed over the management of the factory to Charles Bertheau. The "Golden Age" of the factory was prolongated; Bertaud received two golden medals and became the Imperial Court supplier. Nevertheless, in 1903, the factory ceases to exist, becoming another remarkable page in history.