Alexandre Noll - Design New York Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | Phillips

    As a conscript to the air force during World War I, Alexandre Noll discovered woodcarving in the Dardanelles. After returning home to France following the war, he began making simple wares for a Parisian department store where he attracted the attention of Paul Poiret, an established designer at the time, who commissioned him to design housewares and decorative objects. 


    Poiret presciently recognized the potential in Noll's self-taught and primitive techniques, which was a remarkable feat given that his developing style was unprecedented. Noll allowed his process to be directed by the wood he chose, once saying, “I don’t kill the wood, I obey it.” He would first roughly saw the timber down and then use chisels and gouges to refine the shape, paying close attention to imperfections, knots, and grain to maintain the unique nature of the material. He would then even and polish the surface to give the object a perfectly smooth finish. He claimed, “even felled, cut, the tree continues to live…” This was true due entirely to the artist’s veneration for his material, which never lost its original nature at his hands.


    Alexandre Noll in his studio.

    The present work comes from the collection of Wolfgang Joop, the German fashion entrepreneur, who was an early collector and champion of Noll’s work. Like Poiret, Joop recognized the anachronistic and radical premise of Noll’s work.  At a time remembered for its celebration of the industrial and minimal form, Noll honed a distinct craft carefully balanced between the functional and sculptural.

    • Provenance

      Wolfgang Joop, Potsdam, Germany
      Christie's, Paris, "Collection Wolfgang Joop, Œuvres choisies: Arts décoratifs du XXè siècle et Photographie," November 26, 2010, lot 111
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Exhibited

      "Alexandre Noll," Château de Charlottenburg, Berlin, June 30-August 27, 2000

    • Literature

      Olivier Jean-Elie and Pierre Passebon, Alexandre Noll, Paris, 1999, p. 56 for a similar example

Property of an International Collector, Curated by Joseph Dirand


Large tray

circa 1950
1 7/8 x 18 1/2 x 14 3/4 in. (4.8 x 47 x 37.5 cm)
Underside incised ANoll.

Full Cataloguing

$8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for $21,420

Contact Specialist


New York Auction 7 December 2021