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Artcurial announces sale of Art Deco, including a collection of furniture by Maxime Old
René Lalique, Vase Trois figures d’hommes, créé en 1913, verre blanc soufflé moulé à cire perdue, patiné bleu. © Artcurial.

PARIS.- The Art Deco auction organised by Artcurial on May 24th at 7pm will include two important collections demonstrating not only the artistic richness of the movement but also the distinct Art Deco spirit which goes beyond its chronological limits and symbolises true French style. During this sale the interior of a Parisian collector’s apartment and the furniture of the Parisian offices of the Port Autonome de Marseille by Maxime Old in 1971 will be up for auction.

“In 1971 when Maxime Old renovated the Parisian officers of the Port Autonome de Marseille, the majority of interior decorators from his generation who had been leaders during the period between wars, were no longer working. For Maxime Old, this was one of his final projects and one can easily recognise the fine lines of his work, the perfection of the furniture conception, his innovative sense of style and remarkable way of making early 1970s futurism, extremely refined.” Explain Sabrina Dolla and Cécile Tajan from Artcurial’s Art Déco d’Artcurial department.

Maxime Old is associated with 1940s and 1950s French style. He was born into a family of cabinet-makers and trained at the Ecole Boulle before going to work alongside Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann in his workshop. He regularly took part in interior decorator fairs and exhibitions and boasted a prestigious private clientele as well as working for institutions and French embassies and renovating boats.

The interior of the Parisian offices of the Port Autonome de Marseille in 1971 remained untouched up until recently and stands out from Maxime Old’s previous creations. With the smooth lines, amusing curves and aluminium sheets, glass and bright colours, the interior decorator has truly captured the early 1970s style, a period influenced by the fascination of the future, science, new technologies and space. Highlights from the President’s leather-walled office include an egg-shaped desk (estimation : 20 000 – 25 000 € / 22 800 – 28 500 $) and curved counter (estimation : 8 000 – 10 000 € / 9 120 – 11 400 $).

In the rosewood panelled boardroom, a beautiful seven metre long conference table stands out and boasts curved aluminium architectural table legs and is estimated at 24 000 – 30 000 € / 27 360 – 34 200 $. Maxime Old completes the decoration with Airborne chairs made from chrome metal and soft acidic green cushions (estimation : 4 500 – 5 000 € / 5 130 – 5 700 $) and Fontana Arte lights which were highly fashionable at the time.

Built up in the 1980s and 1990s, this collection of Parisian furniture and Art Deco objects will also be sold off. Up until now, the entire collection remained intact in the apartment located in the prestigious Monceau area and boasted other pieces which were acquired from the Alain Lesieutre collection (1989 auction) and Michel Souilllac collection (1994 auction.)

Highlights from the furniture include an exceptional wrought iron mirror by Raymond Subes which is believed to be the only edition ever made (estimation : 50 000 – 60 000 € / 57 000 – 68 400 $) and a bookshelf by the symbolist painter Lucien LévyDhurmer made around 1910 for the private mansion belonging to Auguste Rateau. The contents of his dining room are currently kept at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New-York. A rare desk by Henry Bellery-Desfontaines and Adalbert Szabo corresponds to the model on show at the 1907 exhibition of the Société Nationale des Beaux-arts.

Decorative objects make up a large part of the auction. Collectors will be able to admire ivory boxes by Eugénie O’Kin (estimation : 5 000 – 6 000 € / 5 700 – 6 850 $) and Clément Mère, and an art deco powder box by Janesich which featured on the cover of the catalogue from the Michel Souillac collection auction in 1994 in Paris.

The auction will also feature a large amount of Art Deco creations from some of the leaders of the movement (Armand-Albert Rateau, Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann and Diego Giacometti…) An example of these are the modern lights made by Pierre Chareau, Jacques Le Chevallier and Paul Dupré-Lafon. One can also admire an exceptional silver metal box with night blue enamel by Jean Goulden (estimation : 30 000 – 40 000 € / 32 500 – 45 600 $). These pieces are rare on the market and the cubist constructions appeal to collectors. Last November, Artcurial sold two similar pieces at auction.

Two major glass works by René Lalique will also be on sale : a panel called Figurines et raisins, which was made from a wax mould in 1928 for the restaurant carriages of the Cote d’Azur Pullman Express train. The model was specifically designed for the train which was inaugurated by the Compagnie des Wagons-Lits in Decembre 1929. An exceptional glass-blown vase made from a wax mould is estimated at 80 000 – 100 000 € / 91 200 – 114 000 $ and entitled Trois figures d’hommes.

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