Joseph Emmanuel Zwiener was born in Heidau, Snesia, circa 1848 and died in 1925 and was one of the leading furniture makers of the end of the nineteenth century.
He is listed as working in Paris between 1880-1895 at the rue de la Roquette. Present scholarship suggests that Joseph Emmanuel Zwiener and the ebeiste Julius Zwiener, who worked in a remarkably similar style are the same maker. Joseph Emmauel is not recorded in Paris after 1895.
At that point, the Paris workshop appears to have been taken over by another important emigre and ebiniste Francois Linke. It is thought that the sculptor Leon Mesange who orginally worked with Zwiener may have transferred to Linke’s workshop when Zwiener ceased trading in Paris in 1895.
Zwiener almost certainly employed François Linke, who was six years younger and a fellow German-speaker. The Pankraz Gedenkbuch mentions Linke as "working in Paris with a German master.
In 1895 his Paris workshop was taken over by the important émigré and ébéniste, François Linke. Christopher Payne, in his book on Linke, speculates that Linke may have worked for Zwiener when he first arrived in Paris in 1875. Linke is known to have also taken on Zwiener's sculptor Léon Messagé. For this reason many of Zwiener's pieces have often been mistakenly attributed to Linke. The high quality of the ebenisterie and the gilt-bronze mounts are characteristic of Zwiener’s work. As Mesange worked for Linke and Zwiener in the same style, many of Zwiener’s pieces have been attributed to Linke. In order to differentiate commissions, the bronzes were often marked on the reverse side with the maker’s initials.
Several of Zwiener’s mounts have been found with a “Z”, a “ZW”, or “IZ”, on the reverse. other pieces have been found with a signature and/or date. In 1889, the firm won a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle for a Jewel Cabinet. The jury noted “es ses debuts a une Exposition Universelle (il) s’est mis au premier rang par la richesse et le fini de ses meubles incrustes de bronze et fort habilement marquestes”. In 1898, Julius Zwiener was commissioned to make an important bedroom suite for Kaiser Wilhelm II.