Abel Landry's Armchair Joins the Musée d'Orsay

On 28 October 2018, by Philippe Dufour
Abel Landry (1871-1923), "Flâneuse" armchair, model "43", 1902, carved varnished wood, 102 x 74 cm.
Result: €8,250

It might not have come top of the bidding at the Cannes sale of 26 October, but a highly unusual armchair was perhaps the real star of the occasion. The 1902 chair came from an Alpes-Maritime collection, and as well as the technical description of "model 43" also sports the more appealing name of "Flaneuse" or "idler". It attracted the keen eye of a Musée d'Orsay willing to pay €8,250 and will soon be joining the famous Paris museum's Art Nouveau section. We owe the chair to the little-known talent of architect and interior designer Abel Landry, who came to the fore in the early 20th century, carving a select niche for himself in the Paris Art Nouveau scene. Alongside Henry Van de Velde, Paul Follot, Maurice Biais and Maurice Dufrêne, he worked for La Maison Moderne, a gallery founded in 1899 by the German-born art critic Julius Meier-Graefe. The sobriety of the chair's structure – one of Landry's trademarks – was originally counterbalanced by an exquisite trim in engraved leather with appliqué silk motifs, now lost. The piece illustrates the considerable work he devoted to the very function of the chair, foreshadowing the explorations of future designers.

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