A French Art Nouveau two-tier wooden pedestal by Louis Majorelle, featuring a triangular top, a clover-shaped second tier and three sinuous, carved supports. A similar table is pictured in "Majorelle - Nancy: décorations d''intérieurs: meubles, tentures, bronzes, ferronneries" (the 1906 Majorelle catalogue).
A French Art Nouveau mahogany two-tiered square table by Louis Majorelle, featuring featuring a detailed border on the top tier and gilt bronze sabots on the legs. A similar table is pictured in "Majorelle - Nancy: décorations d''intérieurs: meubles, tentures, bronzes, ferronneries" (the 1906 Majorelle catalogue).
A French Art Nouveau mahogany table by Louis Majorelle, featuring a detailed border on the top tier and gilt bronze sabots on the legs. A similar table is pictured in "Majorelle - Nancy: décorations d''intérieurs: meubles, tentures, bronzes, ferronneries" (the 1906 Majorelle catalogue).
A French Art Nouveau marquetry walnut and macassar ebony salon table by Louis Majorelle. The table top is decorated with leaves and vines. The legs have carved flowers. Pictured in "Louis Majorelle: Master of Art Nouveau Design" by Alastair Duncan, Harry N. Abrams, New York, Publishers, page 204 (plate 131, Salon furniture).
A French Art Nouveau mahogany side table with carved decoration in an abstract curvilinear vegetal motif by Edouard Colonna (1862-1948). Along with Louis Comfort Tiffany, Edouard Colonna was one of the main designers who worked for Siegfried Bing and who, under Bing''s guidance, was responsible for the creation of what is known today as the Modern Style, or Art Nouveau. Colonna is remembered for his tasteful elegance and his use of abstract forms to create a graceful linear rhythm and dynamic intertwining lines. While he occasionally started with a floral motif, Colonna abstracted nature to create the impression of a flower bud or bloom held within a carefully constructed geometric scheme. This design scheme is evident in the delicate carvings ornamenting each leg of the table and in the overall rhythm of the piece. Colonna furniture, jewelry and designs for small objects like scarf and money holders would become the backbone of Bing''s business. By 1898 a number of his works were on display at Bing''s L''Art Nouveau. A similar table is pictured in: "The Paris Salons 1895-1915, Vol. III: Furniture," by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 1996, p. 109.
A French Art Nouveau marble top guéridon by Louis Majorelle. The legs, apron and cross piece of this triangular table are carved with flowers, vines and leaves. Fashioned of marble and carved and molded mahogany, the Chevrefuille guéridon''s sophisticated and dynamic design is enhanced by the sinuous curves of its chevrefuille (honeysuckle) motif. In this piece, Majorelle breathes new life into old tradition.The tabletop is inset with the highest grade rosso di verona marble: white veined orange nodules set within a red matrix. The guéridon''s top, apron, legs and stretcher are carved with chevrefuille (honeysuckle) motif. The two words that make up chevrefoil, chevre (from chevreuil (roe deer)) and feuille (leaf), reveal the vine''s negative connotation within French culture. Chevreuil fauns putatively became intoxicated from the shoots of the chevrefeuille. The chevreuil was so named after the chevre (goat) due to its goat like head. The goat with its nineteenth century evocation of the occult and sexuality only added to the plant''s profanity. The Chevrefuille guéridon refers to Marie de France''s thirteenth century "Chevrefeuille", a French variation of the Tristan Legend. Majorelle had previously created furniture based on the flowers of the Tristan legend, but none so magnificently convey the essence of the story as this guéridon. With the ubiquity of Wagner''s Tri
stan und Isolde in fin-de-siecle France, contemporary artistic circles would have easily understood the work''s iconography. Isolde had told Tristan that if a chevrefuille (honeysuckle vine) wraps itself around a branch of hazelwood (noisitier), the two could not be separated without killing them both. While lying in wait for Isolde, Tristan carves a line into a hazelwood branch and plants it along her courtly procession: "Belle amie, ainsi en est-il de nous: Ni vous sans moi, ni moi sans vous!" "Beautiful friend so it is with us: neither you without me, or me without you." After the lover''s commit suicide, a hazel entwined by a honeysuckle emerge from their grave despite King Mark''s attempt to exterminate them. Despite the illicit nature of the lover''s affair, the couple never consummate, thus maintaining Isolde''s virginity. The honeysuckle''s deforms the hazel tree, minimizing its utility. Through the form of the table and the honeysuckle''s iconographic meaning, Majorelle creates drama between the sacred and the profane. The form of the guéridon evokes the architecture of the gothic church, from the reuleaux shape of the tabletop to the y-shaped dome of the stretcher. The honeysuckle twists about the table without corrupting the table''s divine form, thereby creating the purity of the union in death. This message was communicated in "Liebestod", the climactic end of Tristan und Isolde that literally means love-death. A similar gueridon appears in "Majorelle - Nancy: décorations d''intérieurs: meubles, tentures, bronzes, ferronneries" (the 1906 Majorelle catalogue).
A French Art Nouveau two tiered table by Émile Gallé. The table''s four legs are the carved bodies of dragonflies, their wings outstretched and frozen mid-flight. The table top rests on the dragonflies'' heads and wings, with a fluid curvature in the corners creating a crown for the winged creatures'' heads. Marquetry on the table top depicts flowers on long-leafed stems, with shadows of foliage in the background. Decoration in darker tones and larger, starker motifs, decorate the lower tier, playing on the shadows in which it is naturally shrouded. The dragonfly works of Gallé''s provoked very strong critical reaction when they were debuted in 1900, with champions of Art Nouveau lauding the modernity of the dragonfly as caryatid, while detractors were horrified by the very idea of insects as table legs. Time has certainly found favor with this design, as it has found pride of place in museum collections worldwide. A similar table is pictured in: "Gallé Furniture," by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk: Antique Collectors'' Club, 2012, p. 207, plate 192a.
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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