While also active as a painter and designer, it was in his enamel work that Jean Goulden excelled. He is particularly esteemed for his fine boxes. Goulden's friend Jean Dunand encouraged him to explore the champlevé enamel technique which he used to create his most remarkable boxes and objects such as vases, lights, trays and clocks. Many of his pieces are cubistic in form or decoration; others incorporate representational and sometimes exotic scenes. Goulden also designed furniture that Dunand executed and enriched with lacquer. During the course of Goulden's artistic career, he produced only a limited body of work and his surviving objects are accordingly rare.
Goulden was born to a family of Alsatian farmers and studied medicine in Paris. During World War I he served as a doctor on the front line in Macedonia. After the war, he remained in Greece for several months as a guest of the monastic community at Mount Athos where he was deeply influenced by the local Byzantine enamels. On his return to Paris, Goulden collaborated not only with Dunand but also Paul Jouve and François-Louis Schmied, whose daughter, Dolly, he married in 1925. The four artists exhibited together at Galerie Georges Petit from 1921 to 1932, a golden period for Goulden's work.
JEAN GOULDEN (1878-1946)
A BOX, CIRCA 1930
JEAN GOULDEN (1878-1946) A BOX, CIRCA 1930
enameled metal, with enameled interior
4¾ in. (11 cm.) long, 2 5/8 in. (6.5 cm.) wide, 1 in. (2.5 cm.) deep
signed Jean Goulden and marked CVIII 30
Barry Friedman, New York.
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cf. B. Goulden, Jean Goulden, Paris, 1989, pp. 51, 63, 72-73 for comparable boxes.
The Steven A Greenberg Collection Masterpieces of French Art Deco