Saturday 17 October 2009

Sue et Mare

Sue et Mare

Louis Sue ( 1875 - 1968)
Andre Mare (1887 - 1932)

Andre Mare was an artist, and studied at the Academie Julian Louis Sue also trained as a painter, but turned to interior design as early as 1905. This lack of a design or craft training led both Sue and Mare to be grouped with the Coloristes in Paris before the First World War. Mare was involved with Duchamp Villon's Maison Cubiste in 1912, while Sue worked with Poiret until the founding of La Maison Martine in 1912. In the same year, Sue set up his own decorating firm, L'atelier Francais, and began his association with Mare in 1914. This association became a partnership in 1919 with the foundation of La Compagnie des Arts Francais which lasted until 1928. Sue et Mare worked across the spectrum of the decorative arts from wallpapers to furniture. Their furniture used exotic woods and was clearly inspired by traditional French styles. At the 1925 Paris Exposition their pavilion, Un Musee d'Art Contemporian, rivalled Ruhlmann's and the firm also exhibited furniture in the Ambassade Francaise and the Perfums d'Orsay boutique among other pavilions. The partnership ended in 1928 and Sue continued work in France throughout the 1930s.

Examples of work from  Louis Sue and Andre Mare

French Art Deco Cabinet Black and Red lacquer. c.1930

Art deco fire screen by Sue Et Mare

Sue et Mare French Art Deco Wall Mirror.

Art Deco Secretary Cabinet by Sue & Mare

Coffee table by Louis Sue & André Mare, mahogany wood sculpted and festoned. Black and white marble plate.

Sunday 11 October 2009

Norman Bel Geddes

Norman Melancton Bel Geddes 
(April 27, 1893 – May 9, 1958)

An American theatrical and industrial designer who focused on aerodynamics.
Bel Geddes was born Norman Melancton Geddes in Adrian, Michigan, the son of Flora Luelle and Clifton T. Geddes, a stockbroker.
When he married a woman named Helen Belle Schneider in 1916, they incorporated their names to Bel Geddes. Their daughter was actress Barbara Bel Geddes.
He began his career with set designs for Aline Barnsdall's Los Angeles Little Theater in the 1916-1917 season, then in 1918 as the scene designer for the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He designed and directed various theatrical works, from Arabesque and The Five O'Clock Girl on Broadway to an ice show entitled It Happened on Ice produced by Sonja Henie.
He designed costumes for Max Reinhardt, and created the sets for the New York premiere production of Sidney Kingsley's Dead End (1935).

Bel Geddes opened an industrial-design studio in 1927, and designed a wide range of commercial products, from cocktail shakers to commemorative medallions to radio cabinets. His designs extended to unrealized futuristic concepts: a teardrop-shaped automobile, and an Art Deco House of Tomorrow. In 1929, he designed "Airliner Number 4," a 9-deck amphibian airliner that incorporated areas for deck-games, an orchestra, a gymnasium, a solarium, and two airplane hangars.
Bel Geddes's book Horizons (1932) had a significant impact: "By popularizing streamlining when only a few engineers were considering its functional use, he made possible the design style of the thirties." He wrote forward-looking articles for popular American periodicals.
Bel Geddes designed the General Motors Pavilion, known as Futurama, for the 1939 New York World's Fair. For that famous and enormously influential installation, Bel Geddes exploited his earlier work in the same vein: he had designed a "Metropolis City of 1960" in 1936.
Bel Geddes's book Magic Motorways (1940) promoted advances in highway design and transportation, foreshadowing the Interstate Highway System ("there should be no more reason for a motorist who is passing through a city to slow down than there is for an airplane which is passing over it"). His autobiography, Miracle in the Evening, was published posthumously in 1960.
"Norman," written by Gerry Beckley of the band America and performed by Jeff Larson on his 2002 album Fragile Sunrise, is an homage to Bel Geddes.

The works of Norman Bel Geddes include :

Norman Bel Geddes model, 1934

Pair of 1930’s Art Deco enameled metal lounge chairs, by Norman Bel Geddes.

 Norman Bel Geddes Predicts the Future 

The "Patriot" radio, 1939 Norman Bel Geddes


The "Patriot" radio, 1939 Norman Bel Geddes


Norman Bel Geddes Metal Dresser for Simons. USA 1940's





Saturday 10 October 2009

Robert Mallet Stevens

Robert Mallet-Stevens 
(March 24, 1886 - February 8, 1945)

A French architect and designer. Along with Le Corbusier he is widely regarded as the most influential figure in French architecture in the period between the two World Wars. 
Mallet-Stevens was born in Paris in a house called Maison-Laffitte (designed by Francois Mansart in the 17th century). His father and his grandfather were art collectors in Paris and Brussels. 
He received his formal training at the École Speciale d'Architecture in Paris, during which he wrote Guerande about relationships between the different forms of art. 
In 1924 he published a magazine called La Gazette Des 7 Arts and at the same time with the help of Ricciotto Canudo founded the Club des amis du 7ème art
A Paris street in the 16th arrondissement, Rue Mallet-Stevens, was built by him in the 1920s and has on it six houses designed by him.
In addition to designing shops, factories, a fire station in Paris, apartment buildings, private homes, and interiors, he was one of the first architects to show an interest in cinema. He designed film sets and his design for Marcel L'Herbier's silent film L'Inhumaine (1924) is considered a masterpiece.
Robert Mallet-Stevens has, in many ways, been forgotten outside of Paris, and to those who have studied his work, he is often described as a relatively unimportant architect in comparison with Le Corbusier and other modernists. At the Pompidou Centre, in summer 2005, his work was resurrected from the dust and given the platform to be criticised afresh. Sixty years after his death at the end of World War Two, he has finally been given a wider audience.
Examples of the work of  Robert Mallet Stevens.

Hôtel Martel, 10 rue Mallet-Stevens, Paris.
Fall-Front Cabinet Desk by Robert Mallet Stevens.

Lacquered wood and nickel plated steel, fours drawers with original keys.


Study room. Da: Rèpertoire du Goùt Moderne, 1929.

Friday 9 October 2009

Maurice Dufrene

Maurice Dufrene 


Maurice Dufrene was born in Paris in 1876.
He grew up collecting scrap pieces of wood, fabric and cardboard from his father’s wholesale commodities business and would work them into creations in his own make-shift atelier. Later he studied at the Ecole des Arts Decoratifs, and took a job at La Maison Moderne, where he worked with the likes of van de Velde, Horta, Plumet and Selmersheim.
Dufrene quickly moved to the forefront of modern design and in 1904 became a founding member of the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs, through which he exhibited for thirty years. He taught for a while at Ecole Boulle, and returned to design in 1919 producing neat and logical designs embellished with recurring carved scroll motifs and decorated with marquetry floral medallions in boxwood, ebony and ivory.
In 1921 he joined the studio La Maitrise and began a period of prolific production. At the 1925 Exposition, Dufrene was everywhere. Adapting quickly to the Art Deco movement, the 1930s were just as busy for him. He died in Nogen-sur-Marne in 1955.
Today much of his work goes unidentified.

Some examples of  Maurice Dufrene's Work.

A pair of 1925  sculptured Giltwood armchairs by Maurice Dufrene.

French Art Deco 1925 Paris Exposition Desk Set by Maurice Dufrene.

French Art Deco side table/gueridon by Maurice Dufrene.

French Art Deco Chevalet Mirror by Maurice Dufrene.

A Maurice Dufrene carved, gilt-wood three-piece sofa suite upholstered in an elegant fashion sofa.

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Ralph Thomas Walker

 Ralph Thomas Walker
Architecture and Landscaping

 In 1907, at the age of 18, Walker was apprenticed to Providence, Rhode Island architect Howard K. Hilton. The three year apprenticeship paid one dollar a week for the first year, two a week for the second year and three a week for the third. While working there Walker attended classes at MIT and after two years had moved up to a design position, paying nine dollars a week.

Following his sojourn with Hilton and Jackson, where he met his future wife, Stella Forbes, Walker was employed in 1916 by McKenzie, Voorhees and Gmelin, an important New York firm that was the successor firm to the one begun by Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz in 1885. Walker was to remain there for the remainder of his career. Walker's 1923 design of the Barclay-Vesey Building, now know as the Verizon Building, in New York City is credit as being the first skyscraper in which the New York 1916 Zoning Ordinances were treated as a design asset. His design was to lead to a generation of skyscraper built using the step back principle. This building was also arguably the first art-deco skyscraper.

During the 1930s as art deco waned, Walker was deeply involved with the planning of the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago and in the 1939 New York World's Fair.
Walker was an active member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA), and became its president in 1949. In 1957, on the occasion of the AIA's 100th anniversary, it voted Walker architect of the century. Three years later, in 1960, Walker resigned from the AIA after a conflict over professional ethics.

Walkers most famous work

New York Telephone Building
(The Barclay-Vesey Building)


Tuesday 6 October 2009

Donald Deskey

Donald Deskey
(23 November 189429 April 1989)

American interior and industrial designer. He gained a degree in architecture and studied painting before working in advertising. From 1922 to 1924 he was head of the art department at Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA. In 1921 and 1925 he made trips to Paris, where he attended the Ecole de la Grande Chaumi, returning to New York in 1926 as a champion of modern art and design
In 1926-7 he created the city's first modern window displays for the Franklin Simon and Saks Fifth Avenue department stores. In 1927 he was joined by the designer Philip Vollmer, and the partnership became Deskey-Vollmer, Inc. 
Deskey expanded into designing interiors, furniture, lamps and textiles, becoming a pioneer of the Style moderne (as Art Deco was known in America). His earliest model for the interior of an apartment was shown at the American Designers' Gallery, New York, in 1929. 
With its cork-lined walls, copper ceiling, movable walls, pigskin-covered furniture and linoleum floor, it demonstrated his novel approach. He was one of the first American designers to use Bakelite, Formica, Fabrikoid, brushed aluminium and chromium-plated brass, which he would combine with more exotic materials. . 
In 1931, for the showman Samuel L. Rothafel and the Rockefeller family, he created the interiors of Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, New York, introducing aluminium foil wallpaper in the men's smoking lounge. His Radio City interiors, together with a luxury apartment he designed for Rothafel in the same building, survive as his masterpieces.

Some Examples of Donald Deskey Art Deco pieces. 

Donald Deskey, Table Lamp, 1927

 Radio City Music Hall.

Donald Deskey Designed Brunswick Centennial Pool Table.

 Machine Age End Table in Walnut in the mannner of Donald Deskey.

Sunday 4 October 2009

Andre Leon Arbus

Andre Leon Arbus
Cabinet Maker.
Andre Leon Arbus was one of the most versatile designers of his time. He brilliantly applied his unique point of view to all the elements of his interiors, from private residences to ocean liners.
Beyond the exquisite neoclassical furniture for which he is most famous, he extended his reach to a variety of creative applications, including rugs, lighting and sculpture.

He was one of the last cabinet makers to work in the traditional way of the 18th century masters.
Throughout his career he collaborated with many of the great creative forces of his time
such as Gilbert Poillerat, Jaques Adnet, Raymond Subes and Vadim Androusov
and worked with the finest craftsmen and manufacturers including Aubusson and Veronese.

Arbus has influenced a generation of designers and his work is as vibrant and relevant today as it was over 50 years ago,
I am constantly amazed at how effortlessly his work compliments and enhances any contemporary setting.

(Reed Krakoff writing for the Barry Friedman Sale) 

Some examples of  Andre Leon Arbus work.


ANDRÉ ARBUS Art Deco Chairs.


Pair of Art Deco gilt bronze wall lights by Andre-Leon Arbus with original Murano glass.

An impressive pair of French Art Deco cubist armchairs circa 1935 Mahogany with silvered sabots reupholstered in beige sculptured velvet.