Sormani, Paul (French, 1817-1877)

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Paul Sormani (1817 – 1877) was a preeminent 19th Century Italian cabinetmaker (ébéniste) of Lombard-Venetian origin.

Having moved to Paris, Sormani established his workshop there in 1847 and soon began producing high quality items of standard and fantasy furniture, which he described as meubles de luxe (‘luxury furniture’). Sormani specialised in reproducing styles of the Louis XV and Louis XVI eras, which proved immensely popular with discerning European aristocracy. The Empress Eugenie, for example, who was wife of Emperor Napoleon III, chose to decorate her palaces with Sormani’s beautiful furniture.

Sormani frequently exhibited his impressive creations and was awarded prizes at all the major international exhibitions of the 1860s and 1870s. Notably, at the Parisian Exposition Universelle in 1867, judges described Sormani’s work as revealing “a quality of execution of the first order”.

On his death in 1877, the firm was taken over by Sormani’s widow, Ursula-Marie-Philippine Bouvaist, who, known as 'Veuve Sormani' was joined and later succeeded by her son.