A French Art Nouveau mahogany Ecole de Nancy desk, featuring a hand-tooled leather top, letter rack and bronze drawer pulls with a floral motif. The rounded carved details also draw inspiration from vegetal forms.
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 carved and fruitwood marquetry inlaid Ombelliféres vitrine by Emile Gallé. The vitrine has marquetry ombelle flowers in its interior and on the panel below the bottom shelf. The interior has two small carved half shelves. The top and bottom have elaborately carved ombelle decorations. It sits on four sinuously carved feet. The vitrine''s front marquetry panel features three Berce des prés composed in a similar manner to Kitao Shigemasa''s Tree peony and Finch. Through Takashima Hokkai, Gallé was able to borrow a copy of Fleurs, oiseaux par Shigemasa (Kachoe shashin zue). Like Shigemasa, Gallé worked in the aesthetic of kacho-e (birds and flower painting) with a thorough understanding of the grammar of ikebana (flower arrangement). Gallé''s expertise was so great that he was entrusted with organizing an ikebana retrospective for the 1900 Exposition Universelle. Ikebana is composed of three elements: shin (heaven, sun, male), soe (earth, female), and hikae/tai (humanity, child.) Gallé has arranged his flowers according to the Moribana school, a style of ikebana that came at the apex of the Meiji restoration. Shigemasa had his peonies according to Moribana principles: the right most "soe" flower leans at 45°, the middle "shin" flower at 10° and the leftmost "hikae" flower at 75°. Pivotal to ikebana is the principles of harmony and balance. It is the function of the 4
5° soe flower through angle to balance out the 75° hikae flower. While Gallé did not follow the rigid rules of Moribana, this should not be seen as an indication of inferiority. Rather, Gallé has merely solved the problem of balance in a different manner. While Shigemasa created a sense of balance through angle, Gallé made rendered the leftmost flower in madagascar ebony . The dark value serves as a visual weight, balancing an arrangement that otherwise approaches imbalance. Next to the Berce des prés is an Écaille martre (Tiger moth). Native to the same prairies as the Berce des prés, the inclusion of the Écaille martre gives the vitrine the crepuscular setting that Gallé loved so much. Literature: Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, "Gallé Furniture," Woodbridge, Antique Collector''s Club, 2012, p. 307, pl.42, for a similar example.
A set of two Austrian Art Deco nickel-plated Jazz Band sculptures, comprising a saxophone player and a drummer, by Franz Hagenauer. Karl Hagenauer was an influential designer in the Art Deco style. He enrolled at the Vienna School of Applied Arts at age eleven. He studied with Josef Hoffmann and Oskar Strnad and created designs for the Wiener Werkstätte art collective. After wartime service in the infantry, he resumed his training and qualified as an architect. He joined the family business in 1919 and soon took on leadership in both design and management. Karl Hagenauer was responsive to the change in public taste influenced by the popularity of the Vienna Secession. While Karl was the principal designer of everyday objects (and some sculptures), his younger brother Franz specialized in sculpture. Franz Hagenauer also studied from an early age with Franz Cižek at Vienna''s School of Applied Arts, and joined the family business at age twenty. His interest and talent lay in sculpture with sheet metals rather than cast figures. Later in his career he was head of metalwork and metal design classes at the Academy of Applied Arts. Franz took over the running of the company after Karl died in 1956.A band of seven musicians sold Sotheby''s, New York, June 15, 2011, lot 81. Base dimensions: Saxophone 18-3/4" x 12-1/2 ". Drum 12-3/4" diameter
An Art Nouveau style wall shelf with Calla Lilies, also known as bog arum. The Calla lily was endemic to the lakes of the Vosges, the mountain range of the Alsace-Lorraine region. The Vosges were of considerable inspiration to the artists of the ecole d''nancy and the eighteenth century of the Hautes Vosges frequently attracted the school''s botanical artists.
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