Lot 1
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LUCIEN TOULOUSE, FRENCH, CIRCA 1935 AND 19TH CENTURY, | Pair of Obelisks with cameos

20,000 - 30,000 EUR
bidding is closed


  • Pair of Obelisks with cameos
  • elephant ivory marquetry; mainly sardonyx, coral, carnelian, chalcedony and conch cameos and intaglios; on verde antico and gilt-bronze basesone base engraved and dated : LUCIEN TOULOUSE FECIT - 1935, the other : DONNE PAR LE VICOMTE DE NOAILLES AU COMTE DE RIBES - 1980
  • ivory, pietre dure
  • 47 cm; 18 1/2 in. overall
each obelisk on four elephant ivory ball feet, each side adorned with 15 to 16 cameos, including two intaglios in one side, with profiles of gods and Roman emperors, profiles and busts of women in the Antique and Renaissance style, mainly 19th century


- Given by Charles, Vicomte de Noailles, to Édouard, 6th Comte de Ribes (1923-2013), in 1980


- P. Jullian, « L'hôtel du vicomte et de la vicomtesse de Noailles à Paris. Une des maisons-clés pour l'histoire du goût au XXe siècle », in Connaissance des arts, n° 152, October 1964, p. 91

Catalogue Note

This pair of obelisks epitomises the decoration of one of the most iconic Parisian residences of the twentieth century: the Hôtel Bischoffsheim-de Noailles. Built in 1895 on the Place des Etats-Unis by the architect Paul-Ernest Sanson for the Belgian-born banker Ferdinand Bischoffsheim (1837-1909), the house was inherited by his granddaughter Marie-Laure (1902-1970), who married Vicomte Charles de Noailles in 1927. The couple were patrons and collectors, and in the Hôtel they juxtaposed paintings by van Dyck, Rembrandt, Goya and Delacroix with Burne-Jones, Picasso, Matisse and Balthus. Vicomte de Noailles was also an admirer of the decorative arts and was not afraid to create pairs of obelisks from scratch or to have mounts made for antique obelisks – such as an Egyptian example from the eighteenth dynasty displayed in the grand entrance hall (fig. 1) – by contemporary bronze founders such as the Toulouse family.