Lot 67
  • 67

ÉMILE-JACQUES RUHLMANN | Piano, Model No. 2055AR and 2488NR

200,000 - 300,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann
  • Piano, Model No. 2055AR and 2488NR
  • signed Ruhlmann in sycamore within a circular walnut disc, numbered 86188 and marked GAVEAU/PARIS
  • burled walnut, sycamore, gilt bronze, ivory piano keys
  • 40 x 71 1/2  x 61 1/4  in. (101.6 x 181.9 x 155.5 cm)
  • circa 1925


Private Collection
Sotheby’s Monaco, March 11, 1984, lot 216  
Private Collection 
Phillips, de Pury & Luxembourg, New York, December 11, 2002, lot 27
Acquired from the above by the present owner


“Normandie,” Art et Decoration, July 1935, p. 284 (for a period photograph of the model in situ in the “Petit Salon des Dames”)
“Instruments de Musique,” Encyclopédie des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes au XXème Siècle, vol. 8, New York, 1975, pl. 58 (for a period photograph of the model)
Yvonne Brunhammer, Le Style 1925, Paris, 1975, p. 63 (for a period photograph of the model in macassar ebony)
Florence Camard, Ruhlmann: Master of Art Deco, New York, 1983, p. 92 (for the model in macassar ebony in the Hôtel du Collectionneur at the 1925 Exposition)
Alastair Duncan, Art Deco Furniture, London, 1997, p. 154, pl. 220 (for the above mentioned photograph in the Hôtel du Collectionneur)
Emmanuel Bréon and Rosalind Pepall, Ruhlmann: Genius of Art Deco, Montreal, 2004, p. 46 (for the above mentioned photograph in the Hôtel du Collectionneur)
Florence Camard, Ruhlmann, Paris, 2009, p. 188 (for the model in macassar ebony)

Catalogue Note

Please note if the necessary license to sell is not obtained from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation by the sale date, the ivory keys will be replaced with ivorine.

As the supreme designer of the Art Deco era, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann was more than fit to the task of rethinking the classical form of the piano. Ruhlmann’s genius ability to pair luxurious materials is abundantly present in the rich melding of burled walnut, fine sycamore, and glimmering gilt bronze detailing in this masterful piece. Exemplified by the present lot, Ruhlmann’s magnificent pianos transcend the form to become a true work of sculpture. Ruhlmann updated the traditionally unwieldy pedals into a sophisticated curved component that harmonizes beautifully with the serpentine gilt bronze mounts ornamenting the legs, turning the very lyre post into a work of art. In contrast to more staid lines, Ruhlmann chose to outfit this piano with sweeping curves that emphasize its formidable sculptural presence. The workings of the piano were constructed by the illustrious French firm Gaveau, who created the favored pianos of composers Camille Saint-Saens and Arthur Rubenstein. The firm Gaveau was known for their commitment not only to the excellence of sound, but also to the creation of artistic piano casework, so it is natural that the highly discerning Ruhlmann collaborated with this firm to execute to his high standards.