Important Design

Important Design

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 64. JEAN DUNAND | "LA CONQUÊTE DU CHEVAL" PANEL.

Property of a Midwestern Estate


Auction Closed

July 30, 06:21 PM GMT


200,000 - 300,000 USD

Lot Details


Property of a Midwestern Estate



circa 1935

lacquered stucco, gold leaf

impressed JEAN DUNAND

59⅛ x 74⅞ x 1⅝ in. (150 x 190 x 3.5 cm)

DeLorenzo Gallery, New York, 1990

Acquired from the above by the present owner

Yvanhoe Rambosson, "Le Paquebot Normandie: Heraut de France," Mobilier et Décoration, January 1935, p. 267 (for the panel from the "Normandie" luxury liner)

Bruno Foucart, Charles Offrey, François Robichon and Claude Villers, Normandie: Queen of the Seas, New York, 1985, p. 78 (for the above mentioned panel)

Pierre Kjellberg, Art Déco: Les Maîtres du Mobilier, le Décor des Paquebots, Paris, 1986, p. 230 (for the above mentioned panel)

Martin Battersby and Philippe Garner, eds., The Decorative Thirties, New York, 1988, p. 28 (for the above mentioned panel)

Félix Marcilhac, Jean Dunand: His Life and Works, London 1991, pp. 153 and 316, no. 1088 (for related panels)

Autour d'un Piano de Jean Dunand, exh. cat., Galerie Jacques de Vos, Paris, 1991, pp. 54-55

Louis-René Vian, Arts Décoratifs des Paquebots Français, 1880/1960, Paris, 1992, pp. 202-203 (for the panel from the "Normandie" luxury liner)

Frédéric Ollivier, Normandie, Un Chef d'Œuvre Français, Douarnenez, 2005, pp. 92-93 (for the above mentioned panel)

John Maxtone-Graham, Normandie, New York, 2007, p. 95 (for the above mentioned panel)

Jean Dunand’s La Conquête du Cheval represents perhaps one of the artist’s most ambitious and monumental achievements, both in terms of artistic quality and the scope of the project from which it originated. The present work is a smaller version of the original multi-panel composition that once adorned the walls of the S.S. Normandie luxury liner’s smoking room. Launched in 1935, the Normandie was an unprecedented, one-of-a-kind vessel, not just one of the fastest luxury liners to ever cross the Atlantic but also a symbol of France’s prestige and technological advancement. Its interior was equally as ambitious, with furnishings and interior decorations specially created by some of the most important French artists of the time.

With Jean-Théodore Dupas, Jean Dunand was one of the first artists to be asked to create monumental panels for the liner’s common areas, including the grand salon and the smoking room. For over a year, Dunand worked tirelessly to complete this extraordinary undertaking covering an area measuring nearly 13,000 square feet. This project required the artist to completely reorganize his workshop—metalsmiths and cabinetmakers were asked to assist with lacquer work and five-meter deep pits were dug up to coordinate the movement of panels and scaffoldings across the atelier.

The general concept of the panels from the smoking room specifically were delineated into five works respectively titled: Les SportsLa PêcheLa ChasseLes Vendanges et la Danse; and La Conquête du Cheval. Set against a shimmering gold background with abstract decorations, two horsemen are pictured chasing wild horses depicted in an extraordinarily expressive fashion. The present work undoubtedly functions as a symbol of man taming nature, a fitting backdrop to the luxurious salon echoing the natural strength of the Atlantic visible through the liner’s portholes.

Between 1935 and 1936, Galerie Charpentier and Galerie Le Depot hosted three exhibitions dedicated to the work that Dunand produced for the Normandie. For the occasion, the artist produced variations of the above five compositions reimagining original scale and dimensions. They were met with tremendous success from the public and resulted in numerous private commissions, some of which were directly offered to collaborators and important personalities such as politician Gaston Doumergue and French president Albert Lebrun. The present lot is one of the largest iterations of the model and retains the tremendous dynamism and sense of the detail that characterized the original panel. An example of Jean Dunand’s fantastic artistic versatility, La Conquête du Cheval constitutes the purest manifestation of the splendor of Art Deco style.