JEAN-MICHEL FRANK | LOW TABLE
executed by Chanaux & Pelletier, Paris
mica, ebonized wood
impressed J. M. Frank, numbered 8067 and stamped CP
15⅞ x 37⅝ x 17 in. (40.1 x 95.5 x 43.1 cm)
Overall in good condition. This low table is a remarkable example of Frank’s use of mica on a large scale. The mica surface presents with a highly textured and rich surface when seen in person, with hues ranging from dark brown to gilt copper. The mica sheets are all stable overall with no apparent sign of lifting to the mica sheets. The mica appears to be original and shows expected signs of age, displaying areas of abrasion throughout, minor discoloration, light surface soiling and evidence of the original glue application around the edges on the undersurface, in the form of slightly brighter layers of color, which contributes to the table’s rich color variations. The mica sheets display occasional areas of loss to the corners, which are not visible unless closely inspected and are consistent with age and gentle use. A rare and important work by Jean-Michel Frank that epitomizes his reverence for luxurious and complex materials.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.
L’Arc en Seine, Paris
Léopold Diego Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank, Paris, 1997, pp. 67 and 206-207 (for related models)
Pierre-Emmanuel Martin Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank, Paris, 2006, pp. 94-95 (for a related model)
Jean-Michel Frank: Un Décorateur dans le Paris des Années 30, Paris, 2009, p. 95 (for a related model)
Laure Verchère, Jean-Michel Frank, New York, 2018, p. 25
This lot is offered together with a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Jean-Michel Frank.
Jean-Michel Frank’s fascination for fine and precious materials was central to his practice as a furniture designer. For Frank, who never formally belonged to a modernist movement, materials were a means, not an end. He selected materials and their various textures—mica, straw, plaster, terracotta, shagreen, obsidian and parchment—like pigments from a color palette that contributed to the creation of exceptional decorative schemes. The present lot is a testament to his creative use of non-traditional materials like mica, here embellishing the low table’s wood structure. The physical properties of mica have been revered by artisans since ancient times. A mineral composed of aluminum silicate, it is resistant to heat and naturally cleaves into perfect sheets, which makes it an ideal material for glazing windows, as the ancient Romans did. Japanese artisans admired its metallic luster, inlaying it in lacquer and applying it to block prints. Frank revered mica as much as his ancient predecessors and reserved its use for works for some of his most important commissions, including the homes of Charles and Marie-Laure de Noailles and Templeton Crocker’s San Francisco penthouse. Similar mica-covered tables appeared in the designer’s own smoking room.