Bevis Hillier, The World of Art Deco, New York, 1971, p. 17
Charlotte Benton, Tim Benton and Ghislaine Wood, eds., Art Deco 1910-1939, London, 2003, p. 362, cat. no. 53
Christopher Long, Paul T. Frankl and Modern American Design, New Haven, 2007, pg. 97
Fred Hughes, New York
Andy Warhol, New York
Sotheby's New York, The Andy Warhol Collection, Art Nouveau and Art Deco, April 23, 1988, lot 370
Retro Modern Gallery, New York
The World Of Art Deco, The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, July-September 1971
Art Deco 1910-1939, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, March 27-July 20, 2003
Royal Ontario Museum, September 20, 2003-January 4, 2004
Legion of Honour, San Francisco, CA, March 6-July 5, 2004
Paul T. Frankl designed a number of dressing mirrors in the later 1920s and early 1930s. His earliest designs drew on historical motifs, such as the Egyptian-inspired dressing mirror he created around 1927, but by the end of the decade Frankl had abandoned the use of past forms, stressing instead basic geometries. This mirror, probably designed in late 1929 or 1930, exemplifies Frankl's interest in a new, simplified aesthetic. The outward canting of the mirror's supporting frame is likely a response to Frankl's interest in German and Austrian Expressionism of the early 1920s, while the low, horizontal profile of the piece may have derived from a similar work by the Parisian design firm F. & G. Saddier, which Frankl illustrated in his 1930 book Form and Re-Form. Like the majority of Frankl's furnishings of this period, the wooden surfaces of the mirror stand are lacquered, but Frankl's use of brass is somewhat unusual. During this period, he tended to rely on steel or chromed-metal fittings and hardware and this combined with the large scale of the mirror suggests that this piece represents a custom design. Frankl often produced custom designs for his well-to-do clients, sometimes modifying earlier pieces, sometimes fashioning entirely new designs. This mirror appears to be a case of the latter because it is the only known example of this type. The dressing mirror has been published and exhibited a number of times, most recently in the large traveling Art Deco 1910-1939 exhibition mounted by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and it is among the most singular and important of Frankl's designs.
Christopher Long, Associate Professor of Architecture and Design History, School of Architecture, University of Texas at Austin
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