FRENCH ART DECO BRONZE AND MARBLE TABLE

by Armand-Albert Rateau (1882-1938)
France, 1924


40" wide; 19 1/2" deep; 13 1/4" high

Solid bronze table with four birds supporting a rectangular top with a flared beaded rim and inset with a Belgian marble surface with white stringing. The bodies of the birds well cast with flowerheads and shell motifs and further raised on ball feet.
Impressed on each foot 5292 AA RATEAU INVR 1209 and impressed underneath twice AA RATEAU INVR.

A student of the prestigious Ecole Boulle, where he focused on sculpture, Armand Albert Rateau apprenticed with distinguished Paris cabinetmakers before setting up his own business after military service in World War I. He very swiftly made his mark with his bronze furniture, inspired by antiquity. This dark-green-patinated bronze low table is among the most emblematic of Rateau's furniture designs. The form, with the rectangular table surface framed by a flared rim, and the whole supported on four birds modelled in full relief, reminds us of his training as a sculptor, his fondness for antiquity and his specific affection for animal motifs.

The table was conceived in the early 1920's when Rateau was working on two important commissions. The first, initiated in 1920, was the invitation to create interiors for the rue Barbet-de-Jouy, Paris, home of couturier Jeanne Lanvin; the second, on which he worked between 1921 and 1925, was to create a lavish suite comprising bedroom, boudoir, and bathroom for the Duchess of Alba in her Liria Palace, Madrid. Both of these projects incorporated tables of this model. The table created for Jeanne Lanvin is now in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris. Another table of this model was in the personal collection of Armand Albert Rateau at his quai de Conti apartment. There are four, and possibly five, tables of this model known. There exists another related variant of this table with a flat top and the supporting birds closer together and joined by a central daisy motif. There is one, and possibly two, of this variant table known.

Provenance:
The Duke of Noailles (Probably by descent from the Vicomte Charles de Noailles)
Count Hubert O'Brien
Christie's New York, December 13, 1985, Lot #572

Exhibited:
Exposition des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels, Paris, 1925
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1926

Literature:
Franck Olivier-Vial & Francois Rateau, "Armand Albert Rateau", Les Editions de L'Amateur, Paris, 1992, illus. pp. 14, 45, 59, 60-61, 68, 69.
Alastair Duncan, "AA Rateau", The DeLorenzo Gallery, September 1990, illus. pp. 13, 15, 48, 63-65, where this model table is shown in the Jean Lanvin Paris townhouse, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Exhibition of 1926 and the Duchess of Alba's Liria Palace in Madrid.
"Encyclopedie des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes au XXeme Siecle", Office Central d'Editions et de Librairie, Paris, 1925, volume V, plate XXXV.
Derek Ostergard, "Art Deco Masterpieces", Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc., New York, NY, 1991, illus. pp.50-51.
Victor Arwas, "Art Deco", Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1986, illus. p. 82.
Yvonne Brunhammer, 'Le Style 1925", Baschet & Cie., Paris, n.d., page 41, figure 2.
Pierre Kjellberg, "Art Deco", Les Editions de l'Amateur, Paris, 1981, illus. p. 150.
Alain Lesieutre, "The Spirit and Splendour of Art Deco", Castle Books, Secaucus, NJ, 1978, illus. p. 276, figure 259.
Pierre Kjellberg, "Le Mobilier du XXe Siecle: Dictionnaire des Createurs", Les Editions de l'Amateur, Paris, 1994, illus. p. 540.
Yvonne Brunhammer, "1925", exhibition catalogue Musee des Arts Decoratifs, Paris, 1976, p. 200.
H. Guene, "Decoration et Haute Couture, Armand Albert Rateau pour Jeanne Lanvin, un Autre Art Deco", Paris, 2006, pp. 113, 122, 127 & 156.
A. Flament, "Salle de bains modern", La Renaissance de l'Art Francais et des Industries de Luxe, May 1925, p. 230.
"Une sale de bains modern dans un palais ancient", Vogue, May 1926, p. 32.
"International Studio", December 1925, page 162.

$2,000,000. - Inv. #1362