120,000 - 180,000 USD
together with the original key
57 1/4 x 70 x 19 1/2 in. (145.4 x 177.8 x 49.5 cm)
Overall in very good condition. This masterful piece by Coard is enhanced by sculpted ebony totem sculptures that accentuate the front and sides of the piece. The wooden surfaces are remarkably well-preserved and appear to have been refinished at some in the history of the piece. When viewed firsthand, the rosewood and ebony surfaces are much richer and deeper in coloration than seen in the catalog illustrations. The rosewood and ebony present with light scratches throughout, which are accompanied by surface abrasions and fine hairline cracks to the wood at the top of the cabinet as well as edge wear and very minor abrasions concentrated to the corners and edges of the piece and not visually distracting. The rosewood presents with evidence of prior professional filling and inpainting to localized areas mostly concentrated to the lower edges and corners of the piece and not visually distracting. The ebony decorations have a strong sculptural presence when viewed in person. The ebony drawer pulls are in very good condition overall, with extremely minor edge abrasions consistent with use. This lot is offered with a period key and two adjustable shelves for the central cabinet.
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.
One cannot underestimate the influence of African art and visual culture on the European avant-garde of the early 20th century. Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque’s revolutionary Cubist practice as well as Pierre Legrain and Marcel Coard’s highly geometric furniture designs may be some of the most celebrated examples from the period, grounding Africanism as a defining characteristic of their experimental practice. Sub-Saharan influences in decorative arts specifically gained further momentum through important tastemakers like Jacques Doucet, who furnished his home with eclectic commissioned pieces designed by Legrain, Coard and Eileen Gray, among others. Doucet was one of Coard’s most important patrons and cultivated his interest in African visual culture, even encouraging him to collect African and Oceanic masks.
The present cabinet, executed around 1925, is a prime example of Coard’s multifaceted style and his reinterpretations of foreign influences. The use of two types of wood, rosewood and ebonized wood, as well as the inclusion of carved elements show the influence of African totems. Two documented designs from the same period present with similar features as the present piece: a smaller cabinet shaped like a column with ivory drawer pulls and a larger bookshelf with a similar form. All three pieces from this same family include finely sculpted ebony totems whose artistic influence is equally as Cubist as it is Africanist. Drawers knobs are square-shaped and also made of ebony. The contrast between these sculptural elements and the carefully selected rosewood panels reinforces the designer’s predilection for hybrid influences and contrasting forms.