Marcel Coard - Design Evening Sale New York Tuesday, December 13, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Coard family, France
    Thence by descent
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Amélie Marcilhac, Marcel Coard Décorateur, Paris, 2012, illustrated p. 159

  • Catalogue Essay

    Phillips would like to thank Amélie Marcilhac for her assistance cataloguing the present lot.

    A Signature Technique
    by Amélie Marcilhac

    Marcel Coard began his career under the patronage of Jacques Doucet with a macasssar-ebony, mother-of-pearl, and gold leaf-decorated vitrine (now preserved in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris) and for the rest of his life he would continue to be strongly influenced by the desideratum of his first sponsor. After having sought out a boudoir-style interior with the above-mentioned vitrine and a “Canapé Gondole” (see Phillips, London, April 27, 2016, lot 15 for the sale of a similar example), at the end of the teens Jacques Doucet began to commission his artists to create works that were more African and cubist, promoting in particular Pierre Legrain, who was very inspired by l'art primitif.

    It was important to create unique works, in materials that had been used only very seldom up until that point. As Jacques Doucet liked to say, “Modern furniture must make use of sources that the old cabinetmakers [those of the eighteenth century] didn’t use.” Thus he commissioned from Marcel Coard his personal desk for his residence on the avenue Saint-James (also in the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris), of which the top is entirely covered in python, a material that up until then had not yet appeared in Art Deco furniture. He was one of the only, if not the only, decorators in this period to incorporate python skin into furniture design. He also used this signature technique on his own desk, which he created around 1920-1925 and kept until the end of his life (see Camard, Hôtel des ventes Drouot, Paris, “Vente des héritiers de Marcel Coard,” June 18, 2002, lot 114).

    The present drinks cabinet, in unfinished oak with a quadrangular, elevated body clad in python, is one of only six known extant works by Coard that incorporate python, which include the desk for Jacques Doucet; the decorator’s own desk; a table lamp; a lady’s writing desk (also inlaid with mother-of-pearl); a large rectangular mirror and the present cabinet. These last three pieces belonged to the same, single commission bestowed on Coard from around 1925-1927, a commission that denoted the great refinement and avant-garde taste of the patron. The drinks cabinet was conceived as a precious object, with its angular base composed of four legs joined by an X-form stretcher. The cabinet opens to reveal an interior fitted with six sets of drawers, their façades clad in python, and a larger, central drawer surmounting a niche for four crystal decanters and six cut crystal glasses. This drinks cabinet is emblematic of Marcel Coard's œuvre, innovative in its form as well as in its materials, yet at the same time very refined in its conception.

  • Artist Biography

    Marcel Coard

    French • 1889 - 1974

    Like many other furniture designers of the Art Deco period, Marcel Coard began his career catering to the traditional tastes of his customers, only making unique and creative pieces for certain clients. His furniture design transcended the historicism and modernism that dominated the Art Deco style, and ultimately reflects the concepts and aesthetics of the early twentieth-century avant-garde as much as it does a particular decorating style.

    Coard is most famous for the furniture he designed for the great couturier and patron of the arts Jacques Doucet. Widely published, Doucet's interior has come to define modern collecting practices and in particular was a formative inspiration for Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé. Coard’s work was re-discovered in the historic 1972 auction of Doucet's collection, which achieved previously unrealized results in the still nascent Art Deco market.

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Important drinks cabinet

circa 1925
Oak, python-covered oak, leather-covered oak, silver-plated brass.
Closed: 31 3/4 x 13 7/8 x 13 7/8 in. (80.6 x 35.2 x 35.2 cm)
Fully extended: 31 3/4 x 24 1/4 x 13 7/8 in. (80.6 x 61.6 x 35.2 cm)

Underside branded M.C.COARD and with designer's perroquet mark. Together with four decanters and six glasses.

$80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for $87,500

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

Design Evening Sale

New York Auction 13 December 2016