Stool, Pierre Legrain (French, Levallois-Perret 1889–1929 Paris), Palisander


Pierre Legrain (French, Levallois-Perret 1889–1929 Paris)
ca. 1925
13 1/4 × 28 3/4 × 10 1/2 in. (33.7 × 73 × 26.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Fletcher Fund, 1972
Accession Number:
Not on view
Interest in art from French colonies led many French designers of the 1920s to experiment with shapes, materials, and techniques evocative of these faraway places and cultures. Here, Legrain has adapted forms from several African cultures: the base of two blocks flanking a central support evokes Bari headrests from Sudan, the pattern along the seat’s edge resembles a carving technique used by many African sculptors, and the stool’s gently curved shape is similar to headrests and stools common throughout sub-Saharan Africa. This piece was made for Jacques Doucet, an important collector of African art and early patron of Art Deco.
Jacques Doucet, Paris and Neuilly (until d. 1929; commissioned from the artist); his widow, Jeanne Roger Doucet, Neuilly (1929–d. 1958); Jacques Doucet's nephew Jean Dubrujeaud, Paris (1958–68); his son Jean Angladon-Dubrujeaud, Paris (1968–72; sale, Hôtel Drouot, Paris, November 8, 1972, no. 28, sold to MMA)

Washington, D. C. National Museum of African Art. "African Forms in the Furniture of Pierre Legrain," August 16–November 29, 1998, unnum. brochure (fig. 6).

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Century of Design, Part I: 1900–1925," December 14, 1999–March 26, 2000, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Significant Objects," November 26, 2002–May 2, 2004, no catalogue.

Fukuoka Art Museum. "Art Deco 1910–1939," July 10–September 4, 2005, no. II-22.

Osaka. Suntory Museum. "Art Deco 1910–1939," September 15–November 6, 2005, no. II-22.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of Modern Design: Selections from the Collection," May 30–October 5, 2008, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of French Art Deco," August 4, 2009–January 23, 2011, no catalogue.

Lynne Thornton. "Negro Art and the Furniture of Pierre-Emile Legrain." Connoisseur 181 (November 1972), fig. 5.

Penelope Hunter in "Twentieth Century Art." Metropolitan Museum of Art: Notable Acquisitions, 1965–1975. New York, 1975, p. 228, ill.

Henry Geldzahler. "Creating a New Department." The Chase, the Capture: Collecting at the Metropolitan. New York, 1975, p. 229.

Penelope Hunter-Stiebel. "The Decorative Arts of the Twentieth Century." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 37 (Winter 1979–1980), p. 30, ill.

Penelope Hunter-Stiebel. The Fine Art of the Furniture Maker. Rochester, N.Y., 1981, pp. 101–5.

Lydia Puccinelli. African Forms in the Furniture of Pierre Legrain. Exh. brochure, National Museum of African Art. Washington, D. C., 1998, p. 10, fig. 6 (color).

Jared Goss. French Art Deco. New York, 2014, pp. 132–33, 258, no. 34, ill. (color).