cf. F. Olivier-Vial, F. Rateau, Armand Albert Rateau, Paris, 1992, pp. 59, 60-62, pp. 68-69 for illustrations of Jeanne Lanvin's and the Duchess of Alba's bathrooms decorated with comparable motifs on the walls, pp. 105, 106-107 for a comparable screen in Jeanne Lanvin's apartment, p. 163 for the six-panel screen 'Coursing in the Forest' of the same construction and with the same bronze elements but with a variant decoration which was exhibited at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, in 1926.
For his extraordinarily wealthy and influential clients, Armand Albert Rateau created the most splendid and luxurious custom made objects and interiors, honoring both traditional taste as well as the influence of modern Paris. While always mindful of his classical training, for his sumptuous work, Rateau often drew upon numerous influences, among them Oriental, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Baroque. In subject matter and style the flora and fauna in the present screen are typical of Rateau's interest in Medieval tapestries, a leitmotif for a number of his works in the 1920s and 30s and one found in his most prestigious commissions from the time.
While the original commission for the screen offered here is unknown, in its coloring and decorative motif it is strikingly similar to the exquisite panels Rateau designed to line the dining room wall in one of his most famous interiors, the Paris home of the illustrious French couturière Jeanne Lanvin at 16 rue Barbet-de-Jouy. (The Lanvin dining room panels are now included in the collection of the Museé des Arts Décoratifs, Paris). The present screen also recalls a six panel screen 'Coursing in the Forest,' on display in 1926 at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. The panel additionally brings to mind the astonishing wall paintings Rateau created for the bathroom of the Dutchess of Alba's Madrid residence, the Liria Palace, in 1921, as well as those in the bathroom in Lanvin's Paris townhouse. While some of the plants and wildlife depicted in these various works differ, their style and delineation is strikingly similar to those on the screen offered here.
Birds, in various species, appear time and again in Rateau's work. As so beautifully depicted here in the offered screen, they lend their form to so many of his decorative designs, such as the extraordinary bird tables designed for both the Lanvin townhouse and the Dutchess of Alba's residence, and on the bases of many of his floor lamp designs.