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French, 1839 - 1919
Alfred André was born on 25 October 1839 in Paris. Where he learned the goldsmith's craft, however, is still unknown. In 1859 he established his own shop, which was by 1874 probably situated at 10 rue Notre Dame de Lorette in the ninth arrondissement. He studied and reactivated old enameling methods, and specialized in the restoration of applied art objects of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
André was in close contact with the Rothschilds and with Frédéric Spitzer (1815-1890), and did several works for their collection, apparently not only restorations. His wealth grew, and in 1880 he was able to buy a large four-story house at 15 rue Dufrenoy in the fashionable sixteenth arrondissement (demolished in 1971). He set up workshops for various decorative arts techniques on every floor in the left wing of the house, working not only with other goldsmiths, but also with hardstone carvers and ceramists.
After the marriage of his son Léon Alexandre (1873-1954), André transferred half of the business to him in 1905. In 1907 it was completely in the name of Léon. From then until his death André lived in an apartment on the Boulevard Flandrin, not far from his former house. He died there on 10 May 1919, having received the distinctions of Officier de l'Instruction Publique and Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur, among many others. The auction of his art collections after his death brought about five hundred thousand francs in 1920. [This is an edited version of the artist's biography published in the NGA Systematic Catalogue]