A collection of French furniture and decorative objects from the 1920s and 1930s led to the decision to hold a new auction at Lempertz' Brussels house. The 134-object collection encompasses the naturalism of Art Nouveau through the innovations of Bauhaus to designs of the "Roaring Twenties".
The title "The Modern Style" is the English translation of the French "style moderne", the name which had established itself for the radical changes in product design a hundred years ago, before the term "Art Déco" was coined in the 1960s.
The library cabinet Bibol trois pleines after a design by Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann from 1923 and most likely produced by his nephew Alfred Porteneuve, is the most spectacular piece in the collection (lot 71, estimate € 7,000 – 10,000 euro). Another typical silhouette for French Art Déco is offered by the rare set of six clubfauteuils after a design by Ruhlmann from 1917, also probably produced by Porteneuve (lot 70, € 15,000 – 20,000). A third prominant object after a design by Ruhlmann is a Sèvres vase painted by Irène Chambon in 1932 (lot 72, € 12,000 – 15,000).
Contemporary to the furniture is a wall hanging made in 1924 in the weaving workshop of Bauhaus Weimar, and attributed to Bunita Koch-Otte, the geometric forms of which are reminiscent of Oskar Schlemmer's wall pictures (lot 67, € 5,000 – 7,000). Two years later, in Dessau, Hans Przyrembel created a timeless, unpretentious brass box, which has become an incunabulum of Bauhaus design (lot 66, € 6,000 – 8,000).
The beginning of modern design is illustrated by the romantic dish from Lucien Gaillard (lot 6, € 9,000 – 10,000), consisting of a ceramic piece from the Atelier de Glatigny, embellished by the famous goldsmith with a chryséléphantine setting. A large, early vase featuring a depiction of a praying mantis by Emile Gallé confirms his mastery of relief enamel and gold and silver powder decoration on glass (lot 15, € 15,000 – 20,000).
A small collection of particularly fine animal depictions is also offered in the auction, made of bronze as well as porcelain. The sculptor Paul Walther was employed in the Meissen porcelain manufactory from 1891 and worked with both materials. A rare Guyana toucan on a dish (lot 36, € 4,000 – 6,000) as well as the humorous bronze pigs (lots 46 and 47, each € 7,500 – 8,500) are from this artist. The highlight however takes the form of a large bronze from the lost mould "Éléphant et Mahout" by Gustave Adolphe Hierholz (Lot 51, € 10.000 – 15.000).