Two-door cabinet, "Cabanel" model - ROM2005_1374_56

ROM2005_1374_56

Two-door cabinet, "Cabanel" model

Maker: Designed by Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann (French, 1879-1933), made by Chanaux & Pelletier
Medium:Macassar ebony, ivory, silk tassels; mahogany carcase
Geography: Paris, France
Date: Designed c. 1921, made about 1925
Dimensions:
132.5 x 45 x 81 x 45 cm
Object number: 998.135.7.1
Credit Line: From the Collection of Bernard and Sylvia Ostry, purchased with funds from the Louise Hawley Stone Charitable Trust; Certified by the Canadian Cultural Property Export Review Board under the terms of the Cultural Property Export and Import Act. Attestée par la Commission canadienne d'examen des exportations de biens culturels en vertu de la Loi sur l'exportation et l'importation de biens culturels.
On view
Gallery Location:The Gallery of Modern Design
DescriptionAfter his studies, and a brief period working with architect Pierre Patout, Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann succeeded to his father’s decorating business, one that purveyed wallpaper, painted finishes and mirrors, to the luxury market of Paris. Gradually Ruhlmann expanded this business to accommodate all the decorative furnishings and accessories required of a classic French interior. While not a trained cabinetmaker, Ruhlmann’s particular interest, however, was the design of the furniture that he deemed appropriate to the interiors he created. Here he drew upon the great French cabinetmaking traditions of the eighteenth-century, with their use of exotic and precious materials, and exacting craftsmanship, all of which he recast in a more modern idiom. These elements are exemplified by this small two-door cabinet. It is a form of furniture that is called a chiffonnier in French, and is derived from eighteenth-century precedents. Like so much of the fine cabinetwork of the Louis XV period that it alludes to, its gently swelling surfaces are veneered with exotic woods, in this instance macassar ebony inlaid in a losange pattern with ivory on a mahogany carcass. Where an eighteenth-century cabinet-maker would have fitted bronze mounts on the feet, the swelling corners and the handles, Ruhlmann has here used ivory. The interior of the cabinet is fitted with shelves and a removable unit of three small drawers. This cabinet is referred to as the Cabanel model, no. 1527, named after the couturière Fernande Cabanel who was probably Ruhlmann’s first client for this model, one that he initially designed about 1920-1921. Other examples of this model, with slight variations in detail and dimensions, were made for other clients, such as the example veneered in amaranth wood in the Brooklyn Museum of Art that was made in 1923. Much of the furniture associated with Ruhlmann was initially produced by the best independent cabinetmakers in Paris until 1925, when he was able to establish his own furniture workrooms at 14, Rue d’ Ouessant. This particular example bears the stamp of the workrooms of Chanaux & Pelletier. Adolphe Chanaux later worked with designer Jean-Michel Frank (1895 – 1941). Ruhlmann’s furniture and interior designs are considered to epitomize the finest in the Art Deco style. He achieved great success with the furniture and interiors he designed for the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, held in Paris in 1925. After Ruhlmann died in 1933, his nephew Alfred Porteneuve completed existing orders of Ruhlmann & Laurent, and he subsequently established a business under his own name in 1934.
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