One of the first places I turn for inspiration every time I have the opportunity and the client has the wallet, is to the Art Deco period, particularly as manifested in France. Paris, which has boasted an unrivalled tradition of creativity in the arts since the 17th century, had the silversmiths, metalworkers, enamellers, artists in ivory and cabinetmakers to re-invent and define the standards of luxury in the period between the wars. And nobody can argue that the interior/furniture tastemaker of the era was Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann.
Ruhlmann re-interpreted the French classical tradition of design and craftsmanship by simplifying lines, emphasizing balance and proportion over overt decoration all while using sumptuous materials like macassar ebony, fine inlays of ivory and bronze and surfaces of sharkskin and lacquer. His work defines French Art Deco at its zenith. So chic!
One of my all-time favorite designs is the featured center table in macassar ebony and gilt-bronze details. The proportion is PERFECT and every detail in the woodwork, from the stepped edges at the base to the amazing sunburst veneer on the top are truly très formidable.
Sadly for my pocketbook, nothing from that period of this quality comes cheap. The present table is being offered at Christie’s in New York on 17 December with an estimate of US$200,000-300,000 and between us, is worth at least this much!
Note: For those interested in the same “look” without the “provenance”, Frank Pollaro (featured here before) produces the finest Museum quality reproductions of this era. Purveyor to New York’s Tiffany & Co. and the best architects worldwide, Pollaro is singularly unique. A superb table like this could tentatively cost you 5-figures instead of 6… a good alternative, no?
image credit: © Christie’s. Lot 255, Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, a macassar ebony center table. To be sold in the Important 20th Century Design sale in New York on 17 December 2011.
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