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  • Provenance

    Templeton Crocker, Russian Hill, San Francisco; Mr. & Mrs. P. Brant, 1970s; Delorenzo Gallery, New York, 1977; Private collection

  • Literature

    “Une décoration française à San Francisco. Chez M. Templeton Crocker,”Art et Industrie, Paris, May 1930, p. 15; “A Twentieth-Century Apartment,” Vogue, August 3,1929, p. 33; Patricia Bayer, Art Deco Interiors: Decoration and Design Classics of the 1920s and 1930s, London, 1990, p. 94; Leopold Diego Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank, Paris, 1997, pp. 76–77and 130; Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank, Paris, 2006, p. 130

  • Catalogue Essay

    Templeton Crocker (1884–1948), grandson of Charles Crocker—founder of the Union Pacific Railroad, controlling shareholder of Wells Fargo-enjoyed the fruits of his forbear’s labors. The younger Crocker traveled widely too, on scientific expeditions to the Galapagos and to Bora Bora, and on less arduous journeys to Europe, where he joined Parisian café society. A collector of art, books, artifacts, and friends, Crocker befriended the great designers of the day, whom he commissioned to decorate his expansive penthouse on San Francisco’s Russian Hill. The residence comprised three rooms by Jean Dunand, a bathroom by Perre Legrain, and a dressing room by Madame Lipska. The chief author of the apartment, however, was Jean-Michel Frank.


    In “A Twentieth Century Apartment”, a Vogue article dated August 3, 1929, a staff writer celebrated the commission: “Perhaps the most unusual feature from a decorator’s point of view is the exotic use of unusual materials. Walls and furniture are of parchment and straw, tables of sharkskin, andirons of rock-crystal, curtains of lacy woven steel like fairy coats of mail…”


    Like the walls, ceiling and divan in Mr. Crocker’s study, the present chair was veneered by Jean-Michel Frank in straw marquetry. It was purchased by a Connecticut collector in the 1970s along with a larger group of furnishings formerly of the Crocker residence.

  • 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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27

Side chair, from the Templeton Crocker residence, San Francisco

ca. 1929
Straw marquetry veneered wood, fabric.
32 1/4 in. (81.9 cm.) high
Produced by Chanaux & Company, France. Impressed twice with manufacturer’s mark and with “623_.”

Estimate
$90,000 - 110,000 

Design Masters

13 December 2011
New York