Jean Goulden

An Important Clock

Auction Closed

December 9, 11:37 PM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 USD

Lot Details


Jean Goulden

An Important Clock


silvered bronze, champlevé enamel

impressed JEAN GOULDEN LIV and dated 1928

14 1/8 x 10 1/8 x 4 7/8 in. (36 x 25.9 x 12.2 cm)

Private Collection, United Kingdom
Sotheby's Monaco, April 5, 1987, lot 212
Barry Friedman, New York
Maurice & Margo Cohen, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Christie's New York, The Maurice & Margo Cohen Collection, June 11, 1999, lot 419
Bernard Goulden, Jean Goulden, Paris, 1989, pp. 96 and 149, no. LIV (for the present lot illustrated)
Charlotte Benton, Tim Benton and Ghislaine Wood, eds., Art Deco 1910-1939, exh. cat., Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2003, p. 100 (for the present lot illustrated)
Blake Gopnik, "When Modernism Left High Art High 'n Dry," The Japan Times, May 11, 2003 (for the present lot illustrated)
Jean Dunand, Jean Goulden, exh. cat., Kelly Gallery, New York, 2013, pp. 42-43 (for the present lot illustrated)
Eric Knowles, Art Deco, London, 2014, p. 48 (for the present lot illustrated)
Sarah D. Coffin and Stephen Harrison, The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, exh. cat., Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York and The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, 2017, p. IV (for the present lot illustrated)
Art Deco 1910-1939, traveling exhibition, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, March 27, 2003-July 20, 2003; Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, September 20, 2003-January 4, 2004; California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, March 6, 2004-July 5, 2004; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, September 19, 2004-January 9, 2005
Jean Dunand, Jean Goulden, Kelly Gallery, New York, June 12-September 6, 2013
The Jazz Age: American Style in the 1920s, traveling exhibition, Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, New York, April 7, 2017-August 20, 2017; The Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio, September 23, 2017-January 14, 2018

This unique clock is perhaps one of Jean Goulden’s most outstanding and large-scale achievements in the champlevé enamel technique. Perhaps one of his most celebrated works, this clock embodies the timeless artistry that made his work a symbol of the Jazz Age in France and overseas. Only 190 objects by Goulden are known to exist, making the present clock all the more special.

Goulden developed a practice that was truly singular amongst his peers in the Parisian avant-garde scene. Jean Goulden traveled to Macedonia as a military doctor during the first World War. There he discovered Byzantine art and was deeply influenced by the beauty of Byzantine enamelwork. Upon returning to Paris, he settled in a workshop in Montparnasse next door to Jean Lambert-Rucki where he painted and developed his unique artistic process with enamel. He became close friends with Jean Dunand and Jean-Louis Schmied with whom he realized a few exceptional collaborative pieces of furniture and book bindings. From 1921 onwards, Galerie Georges Petit held a number of highly successful group exhibitions of works by Dunand, Jouve, Schmied and Goulden. Working in enamel allowed Goulden to develop his unique artistic pursuit and revealed his passion for technical research. In the tradition of the great Art Deco artists who used only the finest materials, his preferred metals were silvered bronze and sterling silver.

His champlevé enamel technique is superbly represented here in the superimposition of turquoise and dark blue panels. Not only was Goulden an incredibly skilled technician, he was also an artist in his own right, creating stunning and complex compositions. This unique clock exhibits strong Cubist influences and Machine Age aesthetics in its construction, cleverly combining a variety of geometric forms with bright accent colors. Goulden created few objects as sophisticated as the present clock, a superlative example that rises to the level of an Art Deco masterpiece further evidenced by its rich exhibition history.