Jean-Michel Frank - Design Evening New York Tuesday, December 12, 2017 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Distinguished private collection, acquired directly from the designer
    Thence by descent
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Waldemar George, "Jean Michel Frank," Art et Décoration, no. 3, 1936, p. 93 for a similar example
    Léopold Diego Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank, Paris, 1980, pp. 69, 156 for similar examples
    Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute-Monde in the Art Deco Period, New York, 2012, pp. 107, 128-29, 160, 199, 250 for similar examples

  • Catalogue Essay


    Obsidian is natural glass formed by the rapid cooling of lava. Like mica, since ancient times humans have admired and adapted this shiny black material for artistic purposes: it was used for tool making during the Stone Age, for seal stones in the Ancient near East, inlaid into the eyes of mummies in ancient Egypt, and as a gemstone by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Aztecs believed it to be sacred and used it for mirrors. Jean-Michel Frank placed his obsidian lamps in the music room he designed for Cole Porter (1928), in Templeton Crocker’s penthouse (1929), and in Claire Artaud’s apartment (1936).

  • Artist Biography

    Jean-Michel Frank

    French • 1895 - 1941

    Working in Paris, New York and Argentina, Jean-Michel Frank designed subtle, exquisitely proportioned furniture and lighting for sophisticated interiors. His elite roster of patrons included the vicomte Charles de Noailles, the businessman and politician Nelson A. Rockefeller, the couturier Elsa Schiaparelli and the perfumer Guerlain, among many others. Against the backdrop of the interwar period, Frank designed calm, subdued interiors that offered refuge from the chaotic world. His furniture, which was often clad in vellum, bleached leather or shagreen, featured clean lines and served to complement the art collections of his clients, which included works by Picasso, Léger and Matisse.

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Property of a Private European Collector


Table lamp

circa 1925
Obsidian, leather, brass, paper shade.
14 5/8 in. (37.1 cm) high, 11 3/4 in. (29.8 cm) diameter including shade
Produced by Chanaux & Pelletier, Paris, France. Underside impressed twice with manufacturer's mark CP, twice with J.M. FRANK, with MADE IN FRANCE and 4029. Together with a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Jean-Michel Frank.

$150,000 - 200,000 

Sold for $200,000

Contact Specialist
Cordelia Lembo
Specialist, Head of Sale
+1 212 940 1265

Design Evening

New York Auction 12 December 2017