• The Steven A Greenberg Collect auction at Christies

    Sale 2651

    The Steven A Greenberg Collection Masterpieces of French Art Deco

    12 - 13 December 2012, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 4

    PAUL BRANDT (1883-1952)


    Price Realised  


    PAUL BRANDT (1883-1952)
    lacquered metal, inlaid with eggshell, gilt interior, the reverse lacquered black
    3 in. (7.5 cm.) long, 3½ in. (9 cm.) wide, 3/8 in. (1 cm.) deep
    signed Paul Brandt Paris

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    cf. Bijoux Orfèvrerie Présenté par Jean
    , Ch. Moreau, Paris, c. 1930-32, pl. 23, for a display of cases by Paul Brandt.

    The late twenties witnessed a broad shift in prevailing tastes within the applied arts in France. The increasingly dominant mode developed formal themes drawn from the ideas promoted by modern movement architects, artists and thinkers. The radical concepts presented in the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes's Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveau had a far-reaching influence. Paul Brandt was among a small group of distinguished Paris jewelers to revolutionize design within this field, introducing chic and dramatic geometric forms and motifs. He used cigarette cases and compacts, such as the present example, as perfect blank canvases on which to present a dynamic, asymmetrical series of graphic designs that perfectly captured the fashionable new look. These were first shown in the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, Paris, in 1927, in displays designed by modernist architect René Herbst (see illustration).
    This cigarette case has an important provenance. It was in the collection of Andy Warhol, who, like Steven Greenberg, saw in French Art Deco an expression of sophistication and high style that resonated profoundly in their own search for the very essence of glamour from the perspective of seventies New York.


    Andy Warhol, New York.
    Sotheby's, New York, The Andy Warhol Collection, 23 April 1988, lot 125.

    Pre-Lot Text

    Paul Brandt's career as a jeweler can be traced to his first, precocious participation in the Paris Salon of 1906, where he exhibited creations that reflected the lingering influence of Art Nouveau. He registered his own mark in 1912. Brandt was a naturalized Frenchman of Swiss origin who had studied in various fields, developing his abilities as a modeler, painter, sculptor, engraver, enameler and silversmith. He honed his skills working for Lacloche and Boucheron, before presenting his independent work with confidence in the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale and beyond. By the close of the decade he had emerged at the forefront of radical, Modernist jewelry design alongside such notable figures as Jean Fouquet, Gérard Sandoz and Raymond Templier. He enjoyed this success until a change of career direction in 1936.