Important Design

Important Design

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 133. An Important Cabinet.

Marcel Coard

An Important Cabinet

Auction Closed

December 8, 09:48 PM GMT


300,000 - 500,000 USD

Lot Details


Marcel Coard

An Important Cabinet

circa 1928-1929

executed by Chanaux & Pelletier, Paris

ébène de Macassar, sapelli, shagreen, lapis lazuli

stamped with the producer's mark

70 x 39¼ x 17 in. (178 x 99.7 x 43.2 cm)

Commissioned directly from the artist by Paul and Marcelle Cocteau, circa 1928-1929
Acquired directly from Ms. Cocteau by Robert Walker, Paris, 1972
John W. Mecom Jr., Houston
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank, L'étrange luxe du rien, Paris, 2006, p. 228
Amélie Marcilhac, Marcel Coard, Décorateur, Paris, 2012, p. 132 (for the present lot illustrated)

This remarkable work by Marcel Coard, one of only two examples of the model known to exist, embodies the formalistic qualities and stylistic influences of the cabinetmaker’s most successful designs. Contrasting luxurious materials— a soft white shagreen, cold blue lapis lazuli stone and the warm veining of brown Macassar ebony—further enhance a dynamic and hyper functional structure of doors and drawers that open through a central system of push buttons. The intersection of vertical, horizontal and curved lines creates an incredibly modern piece that echoes the spirit of Cubism, a movement that deeply inspired Coard’s work throughout the 1920s and 1930s. The African influences suggested here, the trademark of his uniquely personal style, set him apart from the work of his contemporaries, whose artistic approaches either embraced neoclassicism or turned to uncluttered modernity.

A work that is both modern and luxurious, the present cabinet went on to serve as the foundational design for the well-documented bedroom furniture of Marcelle Cocteau, Jean Cocteau’s sister-in-law. Everything in Ms. Cocteau’s house was governed by a degree of exoticism, as seen here, which caught the attention of contemporary periodicals who paid special attention to the two bedrooms. A testament to the importance of this commission, the complete furnishings of Ms. Cocteau’s bedroom were purchased in 1972 after the death of her husband by Mr. and Mrs. Robert Walker; the bedroom of Mr. Cocteau, with furniture primarily made with light pine and brown leather accents, was acquired in the 1980s by another celebrated collector couple, Sydney and Frances Lewis, and is now held by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond.