6 Jun 2015

Metalwork Mastery - Edgar Brandt

Edgar Brandt (1880-1960) was a prominent figure in the French design movement of Art Deco, (1920s-1940s), and in particular on the metalwork side of it, producing some of the finest functional AND decorative works of art of the times, from architectural pieces such as entrance gates and fireplace screens, to hypnotic cobra-shaped table lamps and andirons, down to the more 'prosaic' desk accessories.

He certainly redefined metalwork, by updating traditional craftsmanship methods with modern tooling, yet while keeping a strong sense of aesthetics, and pushing the capabilities of the craft. Edgar Brandt's most famous decorative screen, a unique monumental iron and brass five-panel feature, L'Oasis, and showcased at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (a world design fair held in Paris that was to officially give its name to the flamboyant Art Deco movement) was a symbolic entrance into a new era of art and design.

Sources: (1-2) Edgar Brandt items listed in the Sotheby's Arts Décoratifs du XXè Siècle & Design Auction (Paris, 26-Nov-13). (1) 'Danseur', a Partially-gilded Wrought Iron Fire Screen, 1924, by Edgar Brandt. Item mentioned in Joan Kahr's Edgar Brandt, Master of Iron Work, Harry N. Abrams, Inc, New York, 1999, p. 122. (2) Wrought-Iron Umbrella Stand, circa 1930. (3) 'L'Age d'Or', a Patinated Iron Gilt Bronze Screen featuring three medallions executed by Max Blondat (1872-1926). Item listed in the Phillips Design Auction (New York, 11-Jun-2014). (4) Patinated Wrought-Iron Firescreen, circa 1925. Item listed in the upcoming 20th Century Design Sotheby's auction (New York, 09-Jun-15). (5) Elephant Ashtray in cast iron, Art Deco period. Item listed in the Drouot auction (Paris).

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