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

    Private collection, France

  • Literature

    Amélie Marcilhac, Marcel Coard Décorateur, Paris, 2012, pp. 28, 130-31 for a similar example created for Paul Cocteau

  • Catalogue Essay

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

    Three Motifs
    by Amélie Marcilhac

    The great Art Deco figure Marcel Coard stands out from his generation as one of the few designers who never presented his work at a salon and never belonged to a particular group of artists, in contrast with the great majority of his contemporaries. At the time of the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris, he only had a few important patrons of whom the most iconic was Jacques Doucet. Beginning in 1914, Coard created furniture for Doucet that was as revolutionary in form as it was in its use of materials.

    Coard’s second great patron was Paul Cocteau, the older brother of the famous poet, who in 1928 commissioned the complete decoration of his home in Touraine, which appeared in the September 1932 issue of Art et Décoration. The interior featured furniture clad in shagreen, mirrored glass, and mother-of-pearl, but also pieces in solid, chisel-carved oak, as well as functional furniture in more traditional forms and materials, which appeared in the kitchen and in the dining rooms. One of the most iconic rooms in this house was Madame Marcelle Cocteau’s bedroom on the first floor, which featured a unified suite of maccassar-ebony furniture inlaid with lapis-lazuli, comprising a vanity, nightstands, and above all, a chest of drawers further enhanced with mother-of-pearl. This decorative scheme was a signature style for the Paul and Marcelle Cocteau, who were the only couple who owned furniture inlaid with lapis-lazuli in such original forms, recalling the chest of drawers created for their Parisian apartment in 1925, also inlaid with hardstone, but in that instance with malachite.

    The use of hardstone inlay allowed Marcel Coard to create strong contrasts of color and material on his furniture; he was one of the only, if not the only, decorators in this period to work in this way, even inlaying colored Bakelite to lend the effect of malachite on a chest of drawers.

    On the present chest of drawers, Coard contrasted purple heart, with its pinkish-purple hue, with the marked moiré of sodalite, a light blue veined stone with white and traces of grey that is one of the components of lapis-lazuli. With a quadragular body and a recessed top, the chest features a set of drawers arranged in the center and flanked on either side by a vertical band of sodalite, just like the arrangement of the lapis-lazuli on Marcelle Cocteau’s chest. The silvered metal drawer pulls are equally similar, one could say they are a "hallmark" of the decorator. The second element that figures repeatedly in the creations of Coard is the Greek key at the bottom, also in silvered metal, which serves to underline the base and border the horizontal band of sodalite. This Greek motif appeared at the beginning of Marcel Coard’s production on the desk he designed for Jacques Doucet in 1920, outlining the border of the top, then also for his own desk. From 1925 to 1930, Coard moved the Greek motif to the bottom of his furniture designs in order to outline the base or even serve as the form of the base.

    Extremely emblematic of the work of Marcel Coard, the present chest of drawers reunites three elements very dear to the decorator: the inlay of hardstone; the contrast between wood and stone; and finally the Greek keys at the base, which only further reinforce the Coard’s signature style.

  • 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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Chest of drawers

Purple heart-veneered oak, mahogany-veneered wood, silver-plated brass, sodalite.
37 7/8 x 68 5/8 x 19 5/8 in. (96.2 x 174.3 x 49.8 cm)
Impressed on the reverse M.C.COARD.

$80,000 - 120,000 

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

Design Evening Sale

New York Auction 13 December 2016