Alfred André (1839-1919), French jeweler, opened his own shop in 1859. He combined the work of a jeweler with the activities of an antiquarian, studied ancient works of art and the working methods of old masters. He studied and revived old enamelling techniques and specialized in the restoration of medieval and renaissance applied arts. André worked closely with the Rothschilds, the Parisian antiquary Frederick Spitzer, and the jeweler Reinhold Vasters, whom he met through Frederick Spitzer, and who entrusted him with the restoration and creation of objects in the Renaissance style. His fortune grew, and in 1880 he bought a large four-story house at 15 rue Dufrenois in the fashionable sixteenth arrondissement. In the left wing of the house there were workshops for performing various types of jewelry work. Andre worked not only with other jewelers, but also with hardstone carvers and ceramists.
The high quality of his work brought Alfred André international recognition and a prestigious clientele. His reputation as a restorer was well known, so he was invited to restore a Milanese rock crystal coffin at the Escorial (today kept in the Real Palace in Madrid). For this work he was awarded the Order of Charles III by the Spanish royal family in 1885.
By 1907 André had handed over the family business to his son Leon Alexandre (1873-1954). And since then he has lived in an apartment on Boulevard Flandrin, not far from his former home. During his life he collected old works of art, creating a solid collection of antiques. The cost of his collection at an auction in 1920 amounted to about five hundred thousand francs.
Models have survived to this day, according to which castings were made for frames in the Renaissance style from the workshop of Alfred André. Together with the drawings of Reinhard Vasters, these materials make it possible to reliably identify works of art that were considered the work of Renaissance goldsmiths for most of the twentieth century, and this speaks volumes about the high skill and talent of these goldsmiths.