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Maquette for "Arbre Cubiste (Cubist Tree)"

Jan Martel (French, Nantes 1896–1966 Paris)

Designer:
Joël Martel (French, Nantes 1896–1966 Paris)
Date:
1925
Medium:
Painted wood
Dimensions:
H. 31-1/2, W. 15-1/8, D. 15 inches (80 x 38.4 x 38.1 cm.)
Classification:
Woodwork
Credit Line:
Purchase, Gifts of Himan Brown and Adele Simpson, by exchange, 1997
Accession Number:
1997.110
  • Description

    The twins Joël and Jan Martel were sculptors best known for their four concrete Cubist "trees" designed for a garden setting at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris. Although the exhibition was intended to feature the best examples of contemporary decorative arts and design, most of the works shown were stylistically rooted in tradition. The few uncompromisingly modernist displays, including the Martel trees, were derided in the popular press: one cartoon depicted a baffled gardener debating whether to water them. More than fifteen feet high, the trees were destroyed when the exhibition closed; this maquette is the only nonphotographic record. Each had a cruciform trunk supporting quadrangular planes attached vertically and at angles, suggesting foliage; their abstract modern sensibility clearly derived from the polemics of Cubism.

  • Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings

    Inscription: Stamped (underside of base) JM

  • Exhibition History

    Classic/Fantastic: Selections from the Modern Design Collection, MMA, December 21, 2007 - April 5, 2009.

  • See also
    Who
    What
    Where
    When
    In the Museum
    Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History
    MetPublications
486818

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