ÉMILE MULLER ET CIE (Active late 19th c - early 20th)
Four Glazed Stoneware Tiles, a Presentation Model
Dimensions: 26 5/8 x 22 inches (67.5 x 56 cm)
In 1844, Muller graduated from the École Centrale des Arts et Manufactures as an engineer. Gustave Eiffel studied at this same institution, as did Michelin and Peugeot, amongst others. Muller founded the Grande Tuilerie d'Ivry, near Paris in 1854, which produced roof tiles, architectural and sanitary pieces for buildings, factories and houses. Trained in the sciences, as well as engineering, in 1884 Muller invented a special stoneware called grès Muller. This widened the range of products that Muller could produce and offer, including a wider range of architectural elements and the reproduction of sculpture in glazed stoneware. His client base was wide-ranging including the Ramleh Casino near Alexandria, Egypt, and the palace of the governor of Saigon. In 1886 he opened a second factory. Upon his death in 1889, his son
Louis Muller (1855 - 1921) took over the firm, renaming it Émile Muller et Cie. It was at this time, especially after the introduction of Japanese prints and ceramics to the French market at various universal expositions, that Louis, ever the entrepreneur, approached artists to experiment and produce their designs in glazed stoneware. Such artists as Toulouse Lautrec, Grasset, Fix-Masseau, Ledru and Constantin Meunier, to name but a few, collaborated with Muller et Cie in producing works for sale.
The company, often under the name of Émile Muller, offered works of art and architectural decoration in catalogues that they disseminated. One could either order a piece, as is, or commission the Mullers to produce either a work or architectural elements to one's own specifications. The "manufacture Muller" produced fireplace surrounds, stoves and a great deal of decorative tile work that would have been utilized in the construction of grand homes.
This group of framed tiles, undoubtedly, were part of a series that had been produced for the interior of a home or, perhaps, the facade of a private residence. It appears that they were incorporated into an umbrella/coat stand and served as a backing.