Ebenişti sibieni în secolul al XVIII-lea

Ebenistes of Sibiu in the 18th Century

Autor: Anca Fleşeru


Throughout the centuries the term EBENISTE had different meanings. At first, in the 15th and 16th centuries, during the European Renaissance, the word was used to make reference to the joiner who had been specialized in working ebony wood in carved pieces of furniture. The meaning of the word was widely spread beginning with the 18th century. Thusthe ebeniste, the French term for a cabinetmaker, appointed a specilalist in veneered furniture who worked an elaborate marquetry and inlaypieces. He belonged to a special guild apart from the ordinary joiners. Nowadays the term indicates the specialist who imitates, or restores old pieces of fine furniture.

The fine furniture developed at the end of the 17th century in Sibiu, an old medieval town in Transylvania that was under the influence of the Central and Western European cities.

The 18th century and the first half of the 19th century was the flourishing period of the ebenistes of Sibiu. More than 40 workshops with highly qualified workmen customarily made veneered furniture. The young apprentice who requests to join the guild must do both a “ probe stuk”, and a drawing and explanatory diagrams of it. The State Archives of Sibiu preserves more than 90 such drawings, and there is an interesting debate between them and the beautiful furniture artefacts from the Brukenthal Museum.

Some names of ebenistes active in Sibiu are worth being mentioned: Johannes Gollner, Georgius Ungart, Michael Schmidt, Johann Georg Sekely, Michael West, Petrus Kissling, Andreas Zilmann, Samuel Michelis, etc.

Mention should be made on two Viennese ebenistes who settled down in Sibiu in the second half of the 18th century. They were L. Cristian Hetzel and Johann Bauernfeind. Both of them worked for Baron Samuel von Brukenthal, the governor of Transylvania and for the nobility of Sibiu as well.

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