LOUIS SÜE AND ANDRÉ MARE | LADY’S DESK AND CHAIR
LOUIS SÜE AND ANDRÉ MARE
1875 - 1968 1885 - 1932
LADY’S DESK AND CHAIR
Ébène de Macassar, mother-of-pearl, bronze, fabric upholstery
Desk: 29 x 46 x 23⅛ in.; 73.6 x 116.8 x 58.9 cm
Chair: 33¼ x 17¼ x 16⅞ in.; 84.4 x 43.8 x 42.6 cm
Overall in very good condition. This superb and unique set commissioned for the villa of actress and arts patron Jane Renouardt is a masterpiece of craftsmanship, displaying neoclassical elements and superb mother-of-pearl inlaid decorations. The ébène de Macassar presents with surface scratches and minor age cracks to the wood throughout as well as occasional and minor crackling concentrated to the edges, which are all stable and consistent with the age and natural evolution of the medium. The chair presents with slightly more pronounced superficial splits to the wood, largely concentrated to the backrest. The wooden surface around the metallic bow inlays on the desk with some very light areas of abrasion to the surface (more pronounced on the desk front) which are not visually distracting. The wood surfaces have likely been sensitively refinished in the history of the piece and present with rich variations of ebony and lighter browns. A testament to the tremendous quality of the piece, all of the mother-of-pearl elements appear to be intact on both the desk and chair. The mother-of-pearl elements present with light scratches and occasional minor fissures to the surface, possibly inherent to the material and not visible unless closely inspected. The layer of bronze framing the desktop presents with light oxidation and areas of minor discoloration throughout consistent with age. The leather inset in the desktop presents with small dimples and minor dark discolorations consistent with gentle use. The leather surface is possibly a later replacement and is consistent with the original design. The silk upholstery appears to have been replaced and is in excellent condition with very faint darker surface marks concentrated to the center of the seating area and not visually distracting. Both the front and back sides of the desk are embellished with a metallic decorative ribbon; only the desk front includes a drawer. The desk is accompanied by the original metal key which shows light oxidation. A stunning and masterful work by Sue et Mare displaying outstanding quality, craftsmanship, and use of luxurious materials. When viewed in person, the mother of pearl and metallic inlays display great radiance and a range of luminous jewel-tone hues that are not fully captured in the catalogue photographs.
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.
Commissioned directly from the artist by Jane Renouardt, Saint-Cloud, 1926-1927
Tajan, Paris, May 4, 1993, lot 70
De Quay-Lombrail, Paris, December 6, 1995, lot 293
Collection of Claude and Simone Dray, Neuilly-sur-Seine
Christie's Paris, Collection Claude et Simone Dray: Art Déco, June 8, 2006, lot 272
Susan Day, Louis Süe Architectures, Liège, Belgium, 1986, p. 139 (for the present desk illustrated)
Florence Camard, Süe et Mare et la Compagnie des Arts Français
, Paris, 1993, front cover, p. 191 (for the present lot illustrated)
Alastair Duncan, Art Deco Complete, New York, 2009, pp. 88 (for the present chair illustrated), 92 (for the present desk illustrated)
This exquisite desk and a chair is one of the most important works produced by the French design duo Louis Süe and André Mare. The desk and chair were originally commissioned by actress Jane Renouardt around 1926 for her newly completed home in Saint-Cloud, just outside of Paris. The villa, designed by Louis Süe, was tragically destroyed in 1977 but had fortunately been widely documented upon its completion. It was described as an architectural masterpiece, home to a combination of state-of-the-art Second Empire furniture from Renouardt’s former home and modernist design specifically commissioned for the new residence. Süe et Mare created pieces of neoclassical inspiration displaying the influence of Art Nouveau design, notably through the use of floral motifs and curvilinear forms. The present desk and chair set is a remarkable statement-making work of craftsmanship that perfectly integrated into the new, modern space. The figurative treatment of the glistening mother-of-pearl bouquets that adorn the chair’s backrest and the side panels of the desk, as well as the gracefully sweeping lines and geometric patterns that articulate the legs make this one of their most iconic creations. An armoire and a commode for Renouardt’s villa also executed by Süe et Mare in striking mother-of-pearl inlays presently reside in the collection of the Musée des Années Trente in Boulogne-Billancourt.