Copper in the Arts

October 2007

P.E. Guerin Foundry Continues their Legacy of Artistic Metalwork

By Donna Dvorak

Martin Grubman Martin Grubman, manager, in the showroom of the P.E. Guerin Foundry in New York City's West Village

Photograph by Paul David

In New York City's Greenwich Village lies one of the country's oldest and most notable creators of artistic hardware-the P.E. Guerin Foundry. Since the 1857, this foundry has been operating pretty much the same way since when it began, creating one-of-a-kind artisan cabinet knobs, draw and cabinet pulls, wrought brass moldings, galleries, bathroom fittings and copper finished accessories, for the elite crowd, including past presidents, and other notable homeowners. In fact, P.E. Guerin was one of the pioneers in artistic metalwork in New York, and even today many of its productions - including tables, lamps and objects d'art, can be found in various public buildings, important residences of New York's elite, and even parks throughout the U.S.

The inception of this family owned business - still known for it's exquisite workmanship - goes back to 1833, when Pierre Emmanuel Guerin, was born in Brittany, France. He immigrated to New York City and started his own company - P.E. Guerin. In keeping with tradition, he was succeeded by his son, Emmanuel Pierre Guerin, his son's wife, Marguerita V. Guerin, and a great nephew, Arthur C. Ward. Today, the company is still going strong and is owned and directed by his great grand nephew, Andrew F. Ward, making it a fourth generation family business.

P.E. Guerin Showroom P.E. Guerin showroom

One thing that has never changed is the fine workmanship and standards. They still maintain the highest quality and finest service, and have more than 25,000 stock items on hand. They are also experts at custom orders and can fulfill anything created from copper/brass. All products are made-to-order, and the foundry still conducts weekly pours every Friday in their West Village location.

"Our products can be found almost anywhere around the country," says Martin Grubman, manager. "They're in the White House, the Henry Ford Mansion - that's now a part of the University of Michigan - and almost any museum. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York, has our espangnolettes in the Louis XVI as well as our curtain hardware in the Early American wing. The Art Institute of Chicago has our products, as well as the Louis XV room at the St. Louis Art Museum - it's our hardware on the doors and windows."

P.E. Guerin artist at workP.E. Guerin artist at work

Photographs by Paul David

According to Grubman, every piece of P.E. Guerin hardware begins with brass, and then is coated or electroplated before being painstaking accented by several foundry's artists to provide the ultimate attention to detail that is synonymous with the foundry's high expectations.

"Our biggest sellers (i.e., Empire, Louis XVI, sconces, provincial hardware, cabinet knobs, draw and cabinet pulls, wrought brass moldings, galleries and rosettes), can be found in just about every large house in the country," he explains. "Primarily, it's doors and plumbing, but actresses, actors, major business people, athletes all have our products. And, we do custom orders or anything that our clients require. We had someone who wanted us to make a hippo faucet—he liked hippos—and he loves it. Someone else saw it, and they asked us to create an elephant faucet, so we were able to do that, as well. We can make anything out of brass, and it appears extremely refined."

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Video by blastOff Media

The P.E. Guerin Company, 23 Jane St., New York, New York, (212) 243-5270.

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