Jean-Michel Frank - Design Evening New York Thursday, December 13, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Private collection, acquired from the designer
    Thence by descent
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Art et Decoration, Paris, no. 65, March 1936, p. 93 for a similar example
    Léopold Diego Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank, Paris, 1980, pp. 72, 90, 121-22, 178, 181, 201 for similar examples
    Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: un décorateur dans le Paris des années 30, Paris, 2009, p. 13 for a similar example
    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. 129, 225, 268, 273, 301 for similar examples

  • Catalogue Essay

    Jean-Michel Frank’s pursuit of elemental forms is perhaps nowhere better illustrated than in his lighting designs. In keeping with his aesthetic of understated luxury, he favored austere, simple shapes in a variety of unexpected materials that he selected for their various textures and colors. For the rock crystal table lamp, Frank left the material in a rough-hewn state. He employed similar rock crystal lamps in a number of his interiors, placing them on side tables and sometimes directly on the floor. He particularly favored rock crystal lamps in the Hôtel Bischoffsheim, the residence of Marie-Laure and Charles de Noailles (1926), scattering the lamps throughout the main sitting room. They also appeared in Templeton Crocker’s penthouse (1929) as well as in Adolphe Chanaux’s apartment (1930). In these interiors, the lamps were as intentionally placed as the rocks in a pitch-perfect Japanese Zen garden. The coarse crystalline forms stand like miniature mountains and inspire contemplation not unlike a Chinese scholar’s rock. In fact, though Frank eschewed most historical references, he was inspired by Asian art and incorporated subtle motifs to that end into a number of his designs, such as the “Pagoda” side table.

  • 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
Rock crystal, leather, paper shade.
Height of rock crystal base: 7 1/2 in. (19.2 cm)
Produced by Chanaux & Pelletier, Paris, France. Underside impressed J.M.FRANK/MADE IN FRANCE/6655. Together with a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Jean-Michel Frank.

$120,000 - 180,000 

Sold for $175,000

Contact Specialist
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Design Evening

New York Auction 13 December 2018