1877 - 1942
Lacquered wood, coquille d'œuf
Impressed JEAN DUNAND LACQUEUR and numbered 833/1888
15⅞ x 51⅛ x 22⅞ in.; 40.5 x 130 x 58 cm
Overall in very good condition. This rare low table model combining black lacquered legs and an eggshell table top is a superb example of Dunand’s use of his two most iconic techniques on an impressive scale. The black lacquer retains its original glossy surface, which provides a stunning visual and textural counterpoint to the eggshell top. The lacquer with scattered areas of minor and fine surface scratches concentrated to four sides of the feet, abrasions to the side edges of the feet, and minor crackling to the surface concentrated to the side edges and corners of the piece, all consistent with age and the natural evolution of the medium. The inner surfaces of the feet with very minor and superficial surface irregularities to the lacquer surface which are not visually distracting and only visible upon close inspection. The eggshell surface is entirely stable and is in excellent condition. The eggshell retains its original brightness and complex structure and presents with rich, textural tones transitioning from dark grey to ice white, imparting the work with superb dimensionality and complexity. Some eggshell particles with minor darkening spots to the surface consistent with age and the natural evolution of the medium. The table top with two small and shallow dents to the eggshell area, which are not visible unless closely inspected. This extraordinary table presents beautifully with strong sculptural presence and superb proportions.
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.
Delorenzo Gallery, New York
Collection of Steven A. Greenberg, New York
Christie's New York, The Steven A. Greenberg Collection: Masterpieces of French Art Deco, December 12, 2012, lot 44
Jean Dunand, exh. cat., Delorenzo Gallery, New York, 1985, p. 47 (for the present lot illustrated)
Félix Marcilhac, Jean Dunand: His Life and Works, London, 1991, p. 247, no. 435 (for a related example)
Jean Dunand, Delorenzo Gallery, New York, May 9-June 8, 1985
In addition to the lacquered metal technique that he perfected towards the end of the 1910s, another important technique synonymous with Jean Dunand is his signature use of coquille d’œuf, or eggshell decoration. The laborious process began with cleaning the eggshells, removing their inner membranes, then delicately crushing them into minute fragments to be sorted according to size. Each particle was then applied to a freshly lacquered surface using tweezers. Coquille d’œuf was often combined with lacquered metal, resulting in highly textured pieces with rich geometric presence, producing dramatic contrast against the dark lacquered surface. The instant commercial success of Dunand’s eggshell works prompted the artist to maintain a chicken coop in his workshop’s courtyard to meet the increasing demand. Some of the most striking eggshell works produced by Dunand in the mid-1920s are represented in this tremendous ensemble of unique pieces ranging from a low table (lot 5) to lacquered metal vases and table articles (lots 2, 21-25, 32-33) and a rare lacquered ceramic vase (lot 34). These works display bold and abstract motifs created with the minutious precision of an artist who truly mastered his craft. This curated selection supports Dunand’s reputation as one of the greatest decorative artists of his generation, providing collectors with a rare opportunity to acquire some of the craftsman’s most extraordinary masterworks in the eggshell technique.