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    Sale 2255

    The Modern Age: The Collection of Alice Lawrence

    5 - 6 November 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 53



    Price Realised  


    A Palissandre, Ivory, Silvered-Bronze and Galuchat Bonheur de Jour, circa 1923**
    with ivory inlay, frieze drawer, leather fitted interior with ivory pulls
    Height: 44½ in. (113 cm.)
    Width: 22¾ in. (57.8 cm.)
    Depth: 14 7/8 in. (37.8 cm.)
    branded 'Ruhlmann B' and 'EXP No. 75' (on underside of case)

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    cf. Y. Brunhammer, Le Style 1925, n.d., p. 53. for an illustration of a similar model.
    E. Bréon and R. Pepall, Ruhlmann, Genius of Art Deco, exhibition ctalogue, Musée des Années 30, Paris, 2004, pp. 180-1 for illustrations of a similar model.
    E. Bréon, Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann: The Designer's Archives, Paris, 2004, p. 107, fig. 1503 for a drawing of a similar model.

    Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann was the pre-eminent cabinetmaker of the 1920s. He learned the essentials of his trade as a young man in his father's furniture firm and in 1910 began exhibiting his own designs in the Salon d'Automne. Following the First World War, Ruhlmann assumed direction of the family business, which he greatly expanded by adding a decorating branch that executed upholstery, japanning and all the needs for a complete interior. A steadfast believer in using only the finest materials and the highest level of craftsmanship, Ruhlmann often designed his furniture based on 18th century models. Veneers were chosen from the most expensive and luxurious woods for their elaborately patterned figures and ivory was frequently used to enhance his designs by creating a contrast with the rich color of the wood.

    This small writing desk typifies Ruhlmann's work in the 1920s. The overall form harkens back to the 18th century, but Ruhlmann has attenuated the lines and used exotic materials to create a thoroughly modern work.

    (fig. 1) Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann, circa 1928. BARCODE 24180993

    (fig. 2) A similar model illustrated in the Ruhlmann référenciers, which gave each design a reference number and indicated the woods in which the piece could be made. BARCODE 24180986


    Macklowe Gallery & Modernism, New York.