Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann (French, Paris 1879–1933 Paris)
Lacquered wood, silver-plated bronze, and mirror
46 x 39 x 23 in. (116.8 x 99.1 x 58.4 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Michael Chow, 1986
Not on view
Luxurious and exotic, this dressing table reflects the increasing interest in colonial resources (both material and artistic) that characterized French design during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Its apparent finish is lacquer—a traditional Asian technique—and its form evokes the dignified simplicity of Asian furniture. Ruhlmann made this model in a variety of finishes, including white-leaded oak, eggshell lacquer, red natural lacquer, and black synthetic lacquer, as in this example. Synthetic lacquers, such as Duco (introduced by DuPont in 1924), were introduced in the early 1920s.
Mr. and Mrs. Michael Chow, New York (until 1986; their gift to MMA)
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Jean Dunand: Master of Art Deco," May 23–October 28, 1998, no catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Ruhlmann: Genius of Art Deco," June 10–September 5, 2004, not in catalogue.
Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. "Ruhlmann: Genius of Art Deco," September 30–December 12, 2004, not in catalogue.
New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Masterpieces of French Art Deco," August 4, 2009–January 23, 2011, no catalogue.
Mechthild Baumeister. "Jean Dunand—A Master of Art Déco Lacquer." Ostasiatische und europäische Lacktechniken. East Asian and European Lacquer Techniques. Ed. Michael Kühlenthal. Munich, 2000, p. 212, fig. 213, dates it about 1929.