caption: Period photograph of two similar black lacquered secrétaires exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs of 1947.
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As frequent collaborators, Eugène Printz and Jean Dunand designed furniture that resulted in harmonious compositions. Early on, Printz's firm adapted Louis XV and XVI style forms, such as the secrétaire à abattant, and later produced innovative modular furniture, such as tables with three, five or six hinged components. The late 1930s and 1940s included heavy, substantial furniture pieces and those with decorative elements. The traditional style of this small desk is offset by the introduction of a fanciful depiction of flamingos on the metal doors and the support of the upper table-top by volute scrolls and a gilt-bronze ball that appears "suspended in the air" (Guy Bujon and Jean-Jacques Dutko, E. Printz, 1986, p. 85). Resembling the shape of a pagoda with its upper and lower cut-outs, the overall form is redolent of classical cabinet-work or of Japanese influence.
Evidenced by the present example, Dunand applied various lacquered and incised surface techniques to cabinet doors. While he provided these decorative finishes for Eugène Printz and other cabinetmakers like Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann and Pierre Legrain, he achieved dramatic contrast between dark, figured wood surfaces and bright metal panels on the exteriors of Printz's pieces. The application of a metal 'veneer' on this desk reflected Printz's innovative approach to cabinetmaking and highlighted the collaborative spirit fostered by both designers.
Printz participated in many exhibitions, including the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Industriels et Modernes, the 1926 Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, the 1927 Salon d'Automne, the 1935 Brussels Exposition, the 1937 Exposition des Arts et Techniques, and the 1947 Salon des Artistes Décorateurs. He died in 1948.