Lot 45
  • 45

Jan and Joël Martel

70,000 - 90,000 USD
386,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Jan and Joël Martel
  • An Important and Rare "Locomotive en Marche"
  • signed J. J. MARTEL

  • sheet aluminum and lacquered wood


Atelier Martel, Paris
Felix Marcilhac, Paris


Cinquantaire de L'Exposition de 1925, Le Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, October 15, 1976-February 2, 1977
Léger et L'esprit Moderne, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, March 17-June 6, 1982
The 1920s:  Age of the Metropolis, Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, June 20-November 10, 1991
Art Deco 1910-1939, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, March 27-July 20, 2003;  Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, September 20, 2003-January 4, 2004;  California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, March 6-July 4, 2004;  Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, August 22, 2004-January 9, 2005


"Deuxième Exposition de l'Union," Art et Décoration, July 1931, p. 32 (for a nearly idendical model)
Jan et Jöel Martel:  Sculpteurs 1896-1966, Paris, 1996, pp. 98, and 183-184 (for a nearly identical model)

Catalogue Note

The sculptors Jan and Joël Martel were twins and spent their entire lives living and working together.  They were close friends with the celebrated architect Robert Mallet-Stevens and executed many of the scultural reliefs for his structures, including the Pavilion de Tourisme at the 1925 Exposition Universelle in Paris.  The fair also included their fantastical cubist trees sculpted out of concrete which embodied their dual interests in nature and the avant-garde.  The Martels were founding members of the UAM, the modernist group of artists and designers that held annual exhibitions. 

The model Locomotive en Marche debuted at the second UAM exhibition held in 1931.  The form itself was greatly inspired by the Futurist paintings the brothers previously encountered at the Lenningrad Decorative Institute.  Futurists saw the world imbued with speed and industrial transformation. Technology and modernity were governing principles of this artistic movement, which sought to triumph over the past and conservatism.  The Locomotive conveys a sense of urgency and is a celebration of the advanced modes of transportation that were more rapidly connecting the capital cities of the world and facilitating the exchange of modern ideas. 

Sotheby's would like to thank Florence Langer Martel for her assistance in the cataloguing of this lot.