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patinated bronze, marble
13 ¼ in. (33.7 cm.) high, 40 in. (101.6 cm.) wide, 19 ½ in. (49.5 cm.) deep
stamped four times, 5292 AA RATEAU INVR 1209, underside marked twice AA RATEAU INVR
Count Hubert O'Brien;
Christie's, New York, 13-14 December 1985, lot 572.
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial interest in the outcome of the sale of certain lots consigned for sale. This will usually be where it has guaranteed to the Seller that whatever the outcome of the auction, the Seller will receive a minimum sale price for the work. This is known as a minimum price guarantee. This is such a lot.
Post lot text
A student of the prestigious Ecole Boulle, where he focused on sculpture, Armand Albert Rateau apprenticed with distinguished Paris cabinetmakers before setting up his own business after military service in the Great War. He very swiftly made his mark with his bronze furniture, inspired by antiquity. This dark-green-patinated bronze low table is among the most emblematic of Rateau’s furniture designs. The form, with the rectangular table surface framed by a flared rim, and the whole supported on four birds modelled in full relief, reminds us of his training as a sculptor, his fondness for antiquity and his specific affection for animal motifs.

The table was conceived in the early 1920s when Rateau was working on two important commissions. The first, initiated in 1920, was the invitation to create interiors for the rue Barbet-de-Jouy, Paris, home of couturier Jeanne Lanvin; the second, on which he worked between 1921 and 1925, was to create a lavish suite comprising bedroom, boudoir, and bathroom for the Duchess of Alba in her Liria Palace, Madrid. Both of these projects incorporated tables of this model. Another table of this model was in the personal collection of Armand Albert Rateau at his quai de Conti apartment.

There exists another related variant of this table with a flat top and the supporting birds closer together and joined by a central daisy motif.

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Lot Essay

A. Flament, ‘Salle de bains moderne’, La Renaissance de l'Art Français et des Industries de Luxe, May 1925, p. 230;
‘Une salle de bains moderne dans un palais ancien’, Vogue, May 1926, p. 32;
Y. Brunhammer, 1925, exhibition catalogue, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1976, p. 200;
'Twelve Volumes Documenting the Paris Exhibition of 1925', Encyclopedie des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes au XXeme Siècle, Vol V., New York, 1977, pl. XXXV;
Y. Brunhammer, Le Style 1925, Paris, 1987, pp. 40, 41, pl. 2;
A. Duncan, AA RATEAU, exhibition catalogue, DeLorenzo Gallery, New York, 1990, pp. 13-15, 36-37, 45-48, 63, 64-65, 68-69, and 98-99;
F. Olivier-Vial, F. Rateau, Armand Albert Rateau, Paris, 1992, p. 59, p. 60-61;
H. Guéné, Décoration et Haute Couture, Armand Albert Rateau pour Jeanne Lanvin, un Autre Art Déco, Paris, 2006, pp. 113, 122, 127 and 156.

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