Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann (French, Paris 1879–1933 Paris)
Macassar ebony, ivory, silvered bronze
41 x 69 x 28 3/4 in. (104.1 x 175.3 x 73 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Chow, 1984
Not on view
Ruhlmann’s furniture of the mid-1920s relies on abstract decorative patterning to emphasize its subtle forms. Diamonds, dentils, and rows of dots are typical motifs. Yet despite the linear, geometric quality of his decoration, Ruhlmann rarely used straight lines for the forms of his pieces, preferring gentle curves that were technically difficult to make. This commode is decorated with delicate ivory stringing in a diamond pattern that incorporates the division between top and bottom drawers as an integral part of its design; the outer edge of each front leg is articulated with a perfectly proportioned ivory volute.
Marking: Stamped (on back): Ruhlmann
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "A Century of Design, Part ll: 1925-1950," May 9–October 29, 2000, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ruhlmann: Genius of Art Deco," June 10–September 5, 2004, no. 26.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "Ruhlmann: Genius of Art Deco," September 30–December 12, 2004, no. 26.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of French Art Deco," August 4, 2009–January 23, 2011.