30 April 2008
CHARDONS BOOKCASE, CIRCA 1898
mahogany, carved beech, inlaid with copper, with glazed doors
87½ in. (222.3 cm.) high; 74 in. (188 cm.) wide; 17¾ in. (45 cm.) deep
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Alastair Duncan, Louis Majorelle, Master of Art Nouveau Design, London, 1991, p. 31 (cabinet illustrated with the identical thistle motif copper inlay).
The bookcase dates from the years immediately preceding Louis Majorelle's triumph at the Exposition Universelle, Paris, 1900. The design clearly embodies many of the attributes that would bring Majorelle considerable commercial success, such as his use of stylised carved trailing plants and an elegant fluidity of form.
The inlaid thistle motif on the bookcase appears in a number of other cabinets produced by Majorelle from the years 1897-1899. The thistle plant itself is common to the countryside of Alsace Lorraine and as such was an extremely popular visual motif amongst many designers of the Ecole de Nancy.
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