The most renowned designer of his day, Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann is still considered the primary exponent of high-style French art deco in the years after World War I. Though best-known for extraordinarily luxurious furniture, Ruhlmann's firm, Ruhlmann et Laurent, could provide any element needed for an interior, from architectural settings to upholstery textiles. His designs would set the standard for other French ensembliers.
Ruhlmann's furniture is noted for the richness of its materials, subtlety of line, and exquisite craftsmanship; his patterned designs are much more flamboyant. The still-vivid palette of this carpet--with its sumptuous juxtapositions of pink, orange, red, ecru, gray, and blue--is typical of his taste for vibrant color, its swirling abstract floral sprials set within the hard-edged geometric border. Ruhlmann's interest in the integration of color and pattern has close ties to other avante-garde arts of the period, from fauvist paintings to the set and costume designs of the Ballets Russes. The carpet is the first by Ruhlmann to enter the collection, and joins an important group of his furniture, wallpapers, textiles, and lighting that forms one of the principal strengths of the Modern Design collection.