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  • Provenance

    Collection of Alexandre Noll, France; Collection of Christine Counord and Alan, Paris; Binoche et Godeau, ‘Le Regard d’Alan’, 6 October 1991, lot 98; Collection of Wolfgang Joop, Germany; Phillips de Pury & Company, 20-21st Century Design Art, 24 May 2005, lot 143

  • Literature

    Mobilier et Décoration, June 1950, p. 24; R. Moutard-Uldry, Alexandre Noll: Les Maîtres de L’Art Décoratifs Contemporains, Geneva, 1954, p. 15 for a similar example; Olivier Jean-Elie and Pierre Passebon, Alexandre Noll, Paris, 1999, pp. 52-53; Le Mobilier du XXe Siècle, Paris, 2000, illustrated p. 455.

  • Catalogue Essay

    The table where we eat, commune, and work is a locus of transition: layers of experience, memory, and information pile up as on a plate. A well-worn top, brushed by many hands, is ingrained with private histories lost to us now. The present lot was Alexandre Noll’s own mahogany dining table, cut and pinned circa 1950. Noll discovered woodcarving during the First World War as an air force conscript camped in the Dardanelles. For the next half century, he never renounced his belief in the sacredness of wood, whether mahogany, sycamore, teak, elm, or ebony. He mastered every block of rough timber by cutting, carving, chiseling, and sanding. The catalog of verbs is intentional, for Noll’s engagement with wood was an expression of action between subject and object. Wood, like verbs, can be inflected: he changed the shape of every base block—gave it new function as furniture and sculpture—without modifying its nature. In this sense his every engagement with wood was a respectful confrontation resolved through final agreement. He once said, “Even felled, cut, the tree continues to live…” So too his table.     

76

Important dining table, from the Collection of Alexandre Noll

c. 1950
Mahogany.
73 x 198.1 x 86.4 cm. (28 3/4 x 78 x 34 in.)
One leg incised 'ANoll'.

Estimate
£115,000 - 125,000 

Sold for £169,250

Design

25 Sept 2008, 2pm
London