A scenographic complex workmanship
Louis Majorelle used Walnut and Macassar ebony to express a refined style characterized by soft mouldings with dynamic energy enhanced by the weave. Phytomorphic curves cannot be linked to a specific variety of plants, unlike other creations where nature becomes a pretext for light, fluid, organic ornaments without being vegetable or animal, very refined compared to other designs of the time. This outstanding and rare bed is similar to the one present in the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art in Denver collection with mother-of-pearl and copper inlays. Please, see below the comparative images of the two beds.
Comparison with "Aux Orchidées Bed" designed by Louis Majorelle and kept in the Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art
MUSEUM DESCRIPTION: Aux Orchidées Bed, circa 1899–1900. Walnut and Macassar ebony with thuya, amaranth, Bois des îles and burl amboyna marquetry and mother-of-pearl, copper inlays. Designed by Louis Majorelle (1859–1926, French), Manufactured by Atelier Majorelle, Nancy, France.
The front of the two beds is almost identical, so much so that they can overlap in shape and size; you can scroll the images on the side and check how the two beds are very similar in their dimensions and shapes. While the headboard, although also very similar in shape, differs in height.
Louis-Jean-Sylvestre Majorelle, usually known simply as Louis Majorelle (September 26 1859 – January 15 1926), was one of the most influential designers of furniture and objects in the Art Nouveau style. After 1901 he held the position of Vice-President of the Beaux-Arts. In 1901, Majorelle became one of the founding members of the School of Nancy, also known as the Provincial Alliance des Industrie d’Arte, made up of a group of artists, architects, art critics, and industrialists in Lorraine who decided to work collaboratively, and mainly in the Art Nouveau style.
Louis Majorelle, (Toul, 26 September 1859 – Nancy, 15 January 1926) born as Louis-Jean-Sylvestre Majorelle was a French decorator and furniture designer who manufactured his own designs, in the French tradition of the ébéniste. He was one of the outstanding designers of furniture in the Art Nouveau style, and after 1901 formally served as one of the vice-presidents of the École de Nancy.
The Majorelle firm’s factory was designed by famous École de Nancy architect Lucien Weissenburger (1860 – 1929) and located at 6, rue du Vieil-Aître in the western part of Nancy. In the 1880s Majorelle turned out pastiches of Louis XV furniture styles, which he exhibited in 1894 at the Exposition d’Art Décoratif et Industriel [Exposition of Decorative and Industrial Art] in Nancy, but the influence of the glass- and furniture-maker Emile Gallé (1846 – 1904) inspired him to take his production in new directions. Beginning in the 1890s, Majorelle’s furniture, embellished with inlays, took their inspiration from nature: stems of plants, waterlily leaves, tendrils, dragonflies. Before 1900 he added a metalworking atelier to the workshops, to produce drawerpulls and mounts in keeping with the fluid lines of his woodwork. His studio also was responsible for the ironwork of balconies, staircase railings, and exterior details on many buildings in Nancy at the turn of the twentieth century. Often collaborating on lamp designs with the Daum Frères glassworks of Nancy, he helped make the city one of the European centers of Art Nouveau. At the apogee of the Belle époque, during the 1900 Paris World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle), Majorelle’s designs triumphed and drew him an international clientele. By 1910, Majorelle had opened shops for his furniture in Nancy, Paris, Lyon, and Lille.
- Albert Quantin, L’Exposition du Siècle, Paris, 1900, p. 98
- Théodore Lambert, Meubles de Style Moderne: Exposition Universelle à Paris de 1900, Paris, 1900, pl. 1, cat. 4
- G. M. Jacques, “Le Meuble Français à l’Exposition,” L’Art Décoratif, July 1900, p. 144
- Gustave Soulier, “L’Ameublement à l’Exposition,” Art et Décoration, July-December 1900, p. 38 (for the present lot illustrated) Exposition Universelle Internationale de 1900 à Paris, Rapports du Jury International, Groupe XII, Paris, 1902, p. 126 (for a description of the bedroom suite by Pol Neveux) Alastair Duncan, Art Nouveau Furniture, New York, 1982, pl. 16
- Marie-Christine Delacroix, “Le Mobilier Majorelle,” L’Estampille, September 1978, p. 18
- Alastair Duncan, Fin de Siècle Masterpieces from the Silverman Collection, New York, 1989, pp. 88-89, cat. no. 48
- Alastair Duncan, The Paris Salons 1895-1914, Volume III: Furniture, Suffolk, United Kingdom, 1996, pp. 3, 25 and 380
- Alastair Duncan, Louis Majorelle: Master of Art Nouveau Design, London, 1991, pl. 68, 82 and p. 111 (for the present lot illustrated)
- Roselyne Bouvier, Majorelle: Une Aventure Moderne, Paris, 1991, pp. 153 and 164