Cécile Verdier, European Director of Sotheby’s 20th Century Decorative Arts & Design department, talks about a major piece by Jean-Michel Frank, to be sold in the forthcoming Félix Marcilhac – Collection Privée sale.

Jean-Michel Frank, A gypsum and patinated bronze cabinet, circa 1935. Estimate €400.000-600.000.

PARIS - The sale of Art Deco treasures from the Félix Marcilhac Collection, in Paris on March 11 & 12, promises to be a major event. Highlights include this unique cabinet with an opalescent gleam, made by Jean-Michel Frank from gypsum panels set in a solid bronze frame. For me, this cabinet is a stunning piece and embodies perfectly Jean-Michel Frank’s style. This artist is a key figure in the Art Deco movement and an apostle of absolute minimalism. He chose a surprising material – one totally unprecedented in the history of furniture – when making this cabinet. Gypsum is a mineral that comes to life by absorbing salt water, which lends it a flaky, crystalline appearance with a chalky, neutral colour. It can be transparent or opaque, and gives off a soft glow. It becomes plaster when demineralized. Frank opted for a ‘poor’ material in its raw, untransformed form to design a piece of furniture where the art of refinement scales new heights. This cabinet is the only piece of gypsum furniture known – an enthralling example of design simplicity and minimalist chic, in line with Frank’s ambition to produce ‘luxury from nothing.’ It represents the quintessence of his style and marvellously embodies the notion that beauty can be found in the utmost sobriety – confirming the celebrated adage Less Is More.

Félix Marcilhac: Collection Privée
in association with Artcurial


Auction 11-12 March 2014
Viewing 3-11 March