30 April 2014
A FINE ART NOUVEAU VITRINE, 1900
carved walnut, elaborately carved overall with sinuous stylised foliage and irises, the glazed door above a lower carved panel, flanked with conformingly carved and glazed sides
75.5/8 in. (189.5 cm.) high; 27.3/4 in. (70.5 cm.) wide; 14 in. (35.5 cm.) deep
lower panel signed J. Canepa 1900
Purchased by Gustave Nafilyan of Lausanne directly from the artist in Paris in 1900;
M. Desarzenes, Lausanne, 1975;
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P. Greenhalgh, Art Nouveau 1890-1914, London, 2000, pp. 34-35 (panel illustrated).
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, Art Nouveau 1890-1914, 6 April - 30 July 2000.
Surviving documentation confirms the acquisition of this exceptional suite direct from its creator in 1900, the year of the ExpositionUniverselle in which Art Nouveau was such an important focus of attention. Details regarding Canepa’s formation and career remain elusive. The present suite nonetheless confirms his mastery of the style that enjoyed so brief, yet so dramatic a flowering around the turn of the century. The chosen theme of the iris reminds us of a fundamental principle of Art Nouveau – the rejection of historicism in favour of a return to nature as a source of inspiration. The flower has determined the form and decoration of this furniture, harmoniously synthesised in fluid, organic lines and sculpted details.
This lot is accompanied by a hand-written note by Gustave Nafilyan, dated 17 October 1921, stating that he purchased the suite from the designer in Paris, 1900.
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