Collector's Cabinet by Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann

On 29 January 2021, by Anne Doridou-Heim

Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann walked off with the top three prices in the former collection of an Avenue Matignon gallery owner.

Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann (1879-1933), Duval model collector's cabinet in Macassar ebony and walnut burr, with two doors inlaid with ivory filets, c. 1924, 149.5 x 98.5 x 45 cm (58.9 x 38.8 x 17.7 in).
Result: €119,600

The highest bid of this collection amassed throughout a rich and varied career was €119,600 for this collector's cabinet, a Duval model. Made of Macassar ebony and walnut burr, with doors subtly highlighted by ivory filets opening onto an interior veneered in ash burr, the piece expresses the best of Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, one of the most iconic designers of the Art Deco period, famous for the luxurious elegance he recreated. The pure-lined Damovale desk fetched €42,900. The same amount went to a pair of Hydravion Berger armchairs in brown leather with bronze feet, silver-plated to evoke an airplane fuselage. The design of these chairs, which are found in all books devoted to the "Riesener of Art Deco", dates from the First World War, and more precisely 1917, when the cabinetmaker wanted to pay tribute to aviators: the modern heroes of the deadly conflict.

The sale, which posted a total of €675,350—with €285,350 going to Ruhlmann's furniture collection—featured a gem attributed to another legendary designer, Pierre Legrain (1889-1929): a pair of cube-shaped stools in red lacquered wood highlighted with rubbed silver leaf and black lacquer (45 x 43 x 43 cm/ 17.7 x 17 x 17 in). These two names embody the refinement of a period long gone.

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