Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Jean Dunand - Design New York Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | Phillips
  • Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann’s work has become synonymous with elegance, fine craftsmanship, and luxury. While the present coiffeuse exemplifies these traits, it also looks towards other modernist design trajectories of the late 1920s and 1930s. Ruhlmann, the preeminent designer from the French Art Deco period, reigned supreme at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Just outside of the exposition, Le Corbusier presented his Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveau, the antithesis to Ruhlmann’s display. Though Le Corbusier’s tenet that a home was a “machine for living” would gain traction within international design discourses in the following years, it seemed anathema to Ruhlmann’s design perspective in 1925.


    The present model coiffeuse presented at the 1927 Salon des artistes décorateurs. 
    The present model coiffeuse presented at the 1927 Salon des artistes décorateurs.

    Just two years later, however, Ruhlmann presented works at the Salon des artistes décorateurs—including the present model coiffeuse—that foreshadowed the design trends of the 1930s and more closely aligned with Le Corbusier’s perspective. The present model straddles the boundaries between French Art Deco furniture and modernist furniture. Created in collaboration with leading French lacquer artist Jean Dunand, for this work Ruhlmann pared away much of the ornamentation that characterized his earlier works. The rounded edges of the dressing table conceal the cabinet’s joints to create a sleek and elegant appearance. There is a refreshing simplicity to the design that looks ahead to 1930s modernism.

    • Provenance

      Private collection, Dijon, acquired directly from the designer, circa 1927
      Thence by descent
      DeLorenzo Gallery, New York, acquired from the above, circa 1980
      Acquired from the above by the present owner

    • Literature

      Léon Werth, "Le XVIIe Salon des artistes dècorateurs," Art et Décoration, June 1927, p. 178
      Florence Camard, Ruhlmann: Master of Art Deco, New York, 1984, pp. 60, 274
      Félix Marcilhac, Jean Dunand: His Life and Works, New York, 1991, p. 260
      Florence Camard, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, New York, 2011, illustrated p. 220

    • Catalogue Essay

      The present model coiffeuse is recorded in the Ruhlmann Archives at the Musée des Années Trente, Boulogne Billancourt, Paris.


"Chinoise" coiffeuse, model no. 1538 AR/1827 NR

circa 1927
Lacquered wood, bronze, mirrored glass.
45 x 39 1/4 x 23 3/4 in. (114.3 x 99.7 x 60.3 cm)

Full Cataloguing

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $75,600

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New York Auction 7 December 2021