A French Art Nouveau games table by Louis Majorelle, featuring an inlaid marquetry top and carved legs and skirt. The marquetry decoration features stems, leave and, flowers around a central, bordered section. There is also marquetry decoration on the table skirt. The carving on the skirt and table legs features three-leaf clovers, which climb the legs and end in flower buds. A similar table is pictured in "Majorelle - Nancy: décorations d''intérieurs: meubles, tentures, bronzes, ferronneries" (the 1906 Majorelle catalogue).
A French Art Nouveau two-tiered ""Caltha des Marais" table with ormolu mounts by Louis Majorelle. The table was created at the height of Majorelle''s most fertile period. While pastiches marked Majorelle''s early career, Majorelle''s mature style reduced the excessive ornament of the ancien regime into the fluid line of modernity. This reduction is most apparent in the table''s skirt, where the baroque swag motif transforms into a graduating concave form. The table''s ormolu mounts are bereft of foliate scrolls and grotesque motifs. Instead, Majorelle''s sophisticated naturalism takes inspiration from the flowers of his native Nancy. Marsh marigolds form the top of each mount. Among the few flowers to grow in the caliginous marshes, their yellow petals are a welcome respite to the eye. So loved was the marsh marigold that Shakespeare proclaimed they grew at heaven''s gate, "Hark, hark! The lark at heaven''s gate sings...His steeds to water at those springs, On chaliced flowers that lies; And winking Mary-buds begin, To ope their golden eyes." The marsh marigolds terminate in "saggitaire fleche d''eau" or arrowhead leaves. Both flowers were endemic to lakes in the Vosges region. The tabletop is set with Amboyna burl veneer. Amboyna veneer is among the world''s rarest and most expensive veneers — holding the distinction of being the original wood used on Rolls Royce dashboards.
Against the sobriety of the walnut skirt, the Amboyna burl gives the table an air of luxury. A similar table is pictured in: "The Paris Salons 1895-1915, Vol. III: Furniture," by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 1996, p. 396 (Chairs and tables Salon, 1904); and in: "Louis Majorelle: Master of Art Nouveau Design," by Alastair Duncan, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1991, plate 57.
A pair of French Art Nouveau "Pommes de Pins" walnut armchairs by Louis Majorelle. The chair backs and seats are upholstered in green fabric. They have carved arms, legs and spindle sides. This model of arm chair was used in the bed chamber of Madam Majorelle. Pictured in: "Majorelle: Une Aventure Moderne," by Roselyne Bouvier, Paris: La Bibliothèque des Arts, 1991, page 118, plate 120.
A French Art Nouveau ceramic urn designed by Louis Majorelle and produced by Mougin, featuring swirls of blue on a beige and ash-colored ground, with a snail at at the base. Similar piece pictured in: "Les Frères Mougin, sorciers du grand feu: gres et porcelaine 1898-1950" by Jacques G. Peiffer, p. 157.
A French Art Nouveau flamed sandstone stoneware planter by Alexander Bigot for the architect Cintrat, featuring an organic pattern that repeats itself around the base. This Art Nouveau architectural element by the ceramic artist Alexandre Bigot serves as an elegant and versatile planter. With its subtle "grès flammé (flamed sandstone) glaze, it is equally at home in an indoor alcove, planted with serene orchids, or situated on a terrace or garden''s edge, overflowing with white petunias and bright green trailing vines. Free the fancy of your inner gardener and fill it with your own botanical style of visual energy!Alexandre Bigot (1862-1927) had embarked upon a promising career in physics and chemistry, but was captivated by the displays of Chinese porcelains at the 1889 Exposition Universelle, and abandoned his profession to dedicate himself to the art of ceramics. For ten years, he experimented with pottery and glazes. His doctoral degree in chemistry helped him create a variety of matte glazes with novel effects, such as metallic lusters and crystalline surfaces. By 1900, growing in skill and confidence, he had participated in Siegfried Bing''s inaugural exhibition at La Maison de l''Art Nouveau, and had won a grand prize at the turn-of-the-century Exposition Universelle. However, by the late 1890s Bigot was becoming fascinated by a new medium for artistic expression
in ceramics: the ground-breaking architecture and interiors of the Art Nouveau geniuses, among them Hector Guimard and Louis Majorelle. Excitement about this new style of architecture grew, as beautiful and original structures rose to relieve the homogeneity of Parisian Second Empire facades. Bigot re-envisioned and expanded his Paris manufacturing studio in order to contribute to this exciting new wave, helping to realize the architects'' vision in a variety of ways. His versatile ceramics, and his aptitude for collaborating closely with the artists and architects, helped fully realize this sculptural, plastic style of architecture, with its sense of free composition. His work product ranged from façade revetments to high relief floral, foliate and figural decorative motifs, from bespoke tilework designs to ceramic "masonry" with the appearance of carved, weathered stone.Bigot''s innovations were key to the construction of a number of famous and truly revolutionary Art Nouveau apartment houses and villas, prize-winning structures some of which fortunately survive. His first important success was decoration of the façade and breezeway of the celebrated Castel Beranger, whose architect Hector Guimard designed the famous Paris metro entrances. Bigot also collaborated with architect Henri Sauvage on Louis Majorelle''s renowned villa, where his ceramic panels, fireplace and other design flourishes helped generate the structure''s wider influence on architecture and interior design. For the architect Jules Lavirotte, Bigot, in cooperation with a number of artists, produced the artist-designed tiles and sculpture incorporated into the opulent façade of 29 Avenue Rapp, situated near the Tour Eiffel. One of the most acclaimed surviving Art Nouveau buildings in Paris, this was a revolutionary structure which explored new technologies, including sound proofing and ultralight iron-reinforced concrete. Most importantly, its complex façade harmoniously unifies the work of collaborating artists, realized by Bigot. Architectural critics consider the building to be strongly sculptural in itself. Always adapting to the evolving ideas of avant-garde architects, Bigot later created a sophisticated series of bespoke façade elements for 25bis Rue Franklin, a proto-modernist apartment house in the 16th, just across the Seine from the Tour Eiffel. The structure was the first to expose and assert the skeleton framework of the building as the defining architectural design, and Bigot''s work was used to highlight this novel vision. Its façade is covered with his myriad, hand-set ceramic forms, including chestnut leaves, small disks and interlocking fish scales in subtly varied hues and tones, that read from a distance as monumental vertical panels in beige, cream and yellow. The building was greatly admired by Le Courbusier. As the taste for the Art Nouveau faded, and since the artistic projects to which his business was geared did not tend to reward financially, Bigot''s enterprise was forced to close in 1914, but his astonishing work can still be admired throughout Paris and at the Villa Majorelle in Nancy, the birthplace of Art Nouveau.
A French Art Nouveau carved walnut upholstered armchair, "Aux Pins," by Louis Majorelle. The chair has carved wooden sections depicting pine cones, a recurring motif in Majorelle''s naturalist vocabulary. A similar chair appears in "Majorelle - Nancy: décorations d''intérieurs: meubles, tentures, bronzes, ferronneries" (the 1906 Majorelle catalogue), as Cabinet de Travail "Les Pins", and in "The Paris Salons, 1895-1910, Volume III: Furniture," by Alastair Duncan, Antique Collectors'' Club, Publishers, page 407.
A French Art Nouveau walnut armchair by Louis Majorelle, featuring sinuously curved arms and legs. The top of the chair is decorated with an intricately carved floral motif. It is upholstered in a feather-like pattern fabric in grey, rust and browns.
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