The art of marquetry involves cutting and placing various kinds of wood in order to create or reproduce a decor, a landscape, a subject, like a painter would on a canvas.  Marquetry demands both artistic talent and technical ability. It requires a certain aesthetic sense, notably with regard to creating pictures and choosing colours. But it also requires knowledge of cabinetmaking, since the primary material is wood.


Given the multitude of wood varieties available, nature provides a diverse palette of natural shapes and colours. Staining techniques and other materials (metal, mother-of-pearl, vegetable ivory, stone, straw…) are sometimes used when unusual colours or tones are required.


An ancient art, marquetry likely emerged in Asia Minor some 300 years before Christ and spread to Europe during the time of the Roman Empire. It is generally considered to have reached its height in 14th-century Italy as well as in France during the reign of Louis XIV.  The technique is also used on luxury furniture as well as in certain aspects of interior architecture. Today, however, marquetry is also sometimes used to create pictures.  A work of marquetry is an object of great value, requiring long hours of meticulous and diligent work. The result is an original creation which can never truly be reproduced.


As for my own work, all of my pictures are one-of-a-kind. I also create small series of decorative objects, but each individual piece is made unique through the use of different woods.  I sometimes use wood carving techniques to complete the decoration of my pictures and furniture.  My work is inspired by various themes, but I am especially drawn to the rich heritage which surrounds us here in Newfoundland: the history of the cod fishery, the pristine wilderness, the diverse cultures and histories.


Denis Abrard

Truite Brune Cadre - Denis Abrard