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 French Art Nouveau glass and wood footed bowl by Emile Gallé, featuring a multicolored pinched-sided glass bowl in yellow, purple, and green. The bowl sits atop a carved walnut foot with openwork floral design and scrolled base. Pictured in "Meubles et Ensembles Style 1900" by Edith Mannoni, page 54. Provenance: Private collection of Mr. Robert S. Walker.
An Austrian Art Nouveau patinated bronze bust of Ophelia by Josef Öfner. Like the sculpture by Maurice Bouval, Öfner depicts Ophelia as a sleeping woman adorned with flowers. The sculpture rests on a painted wood base. The Austrian sculptor Josef Öfner (born in Tannheim, Austria in 1868) studied under Auguste Kühne and Otto König and was active in Vienna around the turn-of-the-20th-century. Like many of his peers, Öfner applied his skills to both decorative and visual arts, producing gilt bronze vases and trays in addition to figural busts. Pictured in: "Dynamic Beauty: Sculpture of Art Nouveau Paris", by Macklowe Gallery, The Studley Press, 2011, p. 218.
A very comprehensive set of French Mid-20th Century 18 karat gold cuff links with interchangeable hard stone bars (batons) by Cartier Paris. The cuff links'' connecting mounts consist of the following: 18 karat yellow gold polished mounts #6864463; 18 karat white gold polished mounts #672759; diamond-set 18 karat yellow gold mounts with 44 round diamonds with an approximate total weight of 1.32 carats, #686073; ruby-set 18 karat yellow gold mounts with 48 round rubies with an approximate total weight of 1.92 carats #641343; 18 karat yellow gold polished mounts with blue enamel #663206; and 18 karat yellow gold polished mounts with green enamel #686049. The interchangeable batons consist of hematite, 18 karat yellow gold ribbed, 18 karat white gold ribbed, green chrysophrase, coral, amber, malachite, wood, rock crystal, 18 karat yellow polished gold, 18 karat white polished gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise and onyx. With original Cartier signed fitted epi leather boxes and travel boxes. "Classic motifs--the button, the baton, the coin appeal to designers of every era because of their proportions, simplicity, and ease of use." Susan Jonas and Marilyn Nissenson in Cuff Links. Discussed and similar pictured in Cuff Links, by Susan Jonas and Marilyn Nissenson, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Publishers, New York, 1991, page 91-92. Circa 1960''s. Signed, "Cartier" "016598" French control marks.
A French Art Nouveau "Grenouilles" beechwood cabinet by Emile Gallé. This carved cabinet features dragonfly, mushroom, and landscape marquetry decoration, as well as carved frog-leg feet and a pierced dragonfly design in the top gallery. The panel for the key escutcheon is cast in bronze with the complementary pattern (left and right) in carved wood. Similar cabinet pictured in: "Art Nouveau Furniture," by Alastair Duncan, p. 74, no. 62. As well as in Emile Gallé, by Philippe Garner, p. 84
A French Art Nouveau marquetry commode by Émile Gallé. With original key. The syncretic influence of Japanese art is keenly felt in Gallé''s commode. The beginning of Galle''s fascination with Japanese art can be traced back to his friendship with Hokkai Takashima (1850-1931), a fellow botanist and member of the École de Nancy. Their botanical dialogue was facilitated by the Shokobutsu mei-i, a book of Japanese names for botanical species. It is from Hokkai that Gallé gained a spiritual and symbolic understanding of nature. Along with other École de Nancy artists, Hokkai and Gallé exhibited together in the display window of René Wiener''s papeterie. The store served as the office of Wiener''s arts journal, the Nancy artiste, which regularly featured on its covers contemporary examples of Gansai (Japanese watercolor), Byobu (folding screens) from the Rinpa school, Sumi-e (ink painting), and Ukiyo-e (woodblock prints). As a show of gratitude, Hokkai bequeathed a vast art book collection to Wiener. It is from this record that we know with certainty of which Japanese artists Gallé had knowledge. One of the books in Hokkai''s collection was Hokusai''s Les cent paysages du Fuji (Fugaku hyakkei.) This 1835 expansion of Hokusai''s 36 views of Mount Fuji contained more elaborate iterations of his original compositions. The commode features two drawers and four cabriole legs.
The front of the drawers features a marquetry panel with mountains, unkai (sea of clouds) and usugumo (wisps of clouds) motifs. It is likely from works like Hokusai''s Yama mata yama (Mountains Upon Mountains) that Gallé assimilated the unkai (??) motif. The Yama mata yama is the album''s only zenithal view, allowing this phenomenon which is normally only visible from high elevations. On the top of the commode, a sunset mirage overlooks the entire scene. Meanwhile in the foreground, Gallé has included a usugumo motif rendered in warm brown wood. The wisps of cloud motif originates in a stanza in the Tale of Genji in his mourning for Fujitsubo. Those thin wisps of cloud trailing there over Mountains caught in sunset light Seem to wish to match their hue To the sleeves of the bereaved. There is a distinct temporal quality in the commode''s composition. The left side panel depicts a diurne while the right side panel depicts a nocturne. The juxtaposition of day and night in Japanese ukiyo-e was a subject much beloved by Hokusai and Hiroshige and was termed chuya (chu meaning day and ya meaning night). The Japanese nocturne was clearly a subject of great fascination to Gallé as well as evidenced by his "Nuit Japonais" vase. A similar commode is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture", by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 329, plate 15.
A French Art Nouveau "le cerisier" (cherry tree) vitrine by Emile Gallé featuring marquetry and carving throughout with original stylized fleur-de-lys brass shelf rests and a key with floral decoration. The mirrored vitrine backing enables one to view the backside of the collection housed within. This unusual piece was originally electrified when manufactured.The beginning of Gallé''s fascination with Japanese art can be traced back to his friendship with Hokkai Takashima (1850-1931), a Japanese nobleman, fellow botanist and member of the École de Nancy. Takashima introduced Gallé to a mesmerizing world of Japanese woodblock prints and textile designs, which he frequently incorporated into his work. Gallé''s early success at the 1900 Paris Exposition Universelle was with his "Japonisante" vitrine, a piece that featured "cherry blossom" openwork. In Gallé''s personal life, the cherry blossom held sentimental value, reminding him of his trips to Saillon, Switzerland. In his journal, Gallé mused "the cherries ripen in the snow falling from the dandelions." The gentle dark wood ripples in the marquetry evoke alpine mist and clouds taking the viewer to this enchanting scene. A similar vitrine is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture," by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 295, plate 17.
Table Aux Nénuphars – A French Art Nouveau two-tier mahogany, tamarind wood and gilt bronze table by Louis Majorelle in the "water lily" motif, featuring applied bronze lily pad and vine decoration. The organic shape and rounded dip in each of the table''s two tiered planes mimics the appearance of a water lily suspended in water, creating a beautiful cohesion in the design. Known as the master furniture maker of the Art Nouveau style, Louis Majorelle was the recipient of the Grand Prize at the St. Louis World''s Fair, and international acclaim at the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. He remains among the most sought after designers of the early 20th century, and the most celebrated of the Nancy Art Nouveau artists. Those works by Majorelle that feature gilt bronze accents, produced by his team of highly skilled craftsman with the utmost attention to detail, are considered the most exceptional of the artist''s oeuvre, and are among the most collectible. A similar table is pictured in: "The Paris Salons 1895-1915, Vol. III: Furniture", by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 1996, p. 382, and in: "Majorelle - Nancy: décorations d''intérieurs: meubles, tentures, bronzes, ferronneries" (the 1906 Majorelle catalogue) -- see Cabinet de Travail "Nénuphars".
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