FRENCH ART DECO NICKELED-METAL & ROSEWOOD TABLE LAMP (VEILLEUSE)

by Maison Desny (1927-1933)
France, circa 1927-1933


4 1/8" high

Nickeled-metal inverted saucers of decreasing size with stepped top on an rosewood base.
Biographical information remains elusive on the two designers, M. Desnet and Clement Nauny (1900-1969), who in 1927 with the financial backing of M. Tricot, established La Maison Desny, its name a contraction of their surnames. Located initially on the rue Cambon and then at 122 Avenue des Champ-Elysees in the French capital, the firm closed its doors at some point following the death of Desnet in 1933. Such a relatively short operational life span defies the firm's prodigious output, both in terms of the range and creativity of its products and of its high quality of industrial manufacture. No other design firm captured with more panache the emerging machine-age aesthetic of the late 1920's, that which culminated in the formation of the Union des Artistes Modernes (UAM) by like-minded progressive architects and designers. The crisp symmetry and uniformity of Desny's compositions in metal and glass, in which the interplay of perpendiculars and contrasting planes was carefully balanced against the object's intended functions, stood out starkly from the host of other metalware household objects presented at the annual Paris Salons in the interwar years. Desny's distinctive style manifests itself clearly in these veilleuses and brule parfums, which in their rigorous geometric configurations and architectural proportions appeared novel at the time, even as they do to today's observer. These, viewed today as amongst the epoque's most chic objets d'art rather than as light fixtures per se, had no other function than to serve as soft ambient lighting or to brighten a gloomy corner. Excerpted from Alistair Duncan.

Provenance:
Galerie Vallois, Paris
Collection of Karl Lagerfeld, Sotheby's Paris, May 15, 2003, Lot #74.

Literature:
Guillaume Janneau, "Le Luminaire Art Deco Lampen 1925-1937", Paris, 1992, p. 159.

$15,000 - Inv. #233