Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Dressing Table

Armand-Albert Rateau (French, Paris 1882–1938 Paris)
ca. 1925
Bronze, basalt, mirror glass
53 1/2 × 31 1/2 x 15 3/4 in. (135.9 x 80 x 40 cm)
Credit Line:
Purchase, Edward C. Moore Jr. Gift, 1925
Accession Number:
Not on view
Antiquity provides the inspiration for this dressing table by Armand-Albert Rateau, who borrowed both its form and decoration from Pompeiian models, although the bird motif may also derive from Persian miniature painting. Rateau first conceived the model for a sumptuous bathroom he designed in 1921 for the duchess of Alba at the Palacio Liria in Madrid (now destroyed). He later included a version as part of his décor for the Pavilion de l'Élégance at the 1925 Paris Exposition, which housed displays of the couturiers Jeanne Lanvin, Jenny, Callot Soeurs, Worth, and the jeweler Cartier. The Metropolitan purchased the table directly from Rateau.
Inscription: Stamped (reverse of mirror frame): A. A. RATEAU / INVR
the designer, Paris (until 1925; sold to MMA)

Paris. Arnold Seligmann. June 1–15, 1925, no catalogue [see Ref. Flament 1925].

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. "Art Deco Paris," June 8, 2004–February 6, 2005, no catalogue.

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Classic/Fantastic: Selections from the Modern Design Collection," December 21, 2007–April 5, 2009, no catalogue.

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

New York. The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Metropolitan Vanities: The History of the Dressing Table," December 17, 2013–April 13, 2014, no. 54 (MMA Bulletin, Fall 2013).

Albert Flament. "Salle de bains moderne." La Renaissance de l'art français et des industries de luxe 8 (May 1925), pp. 233–34, ill., notes that a reconstruction of the bathroom designed for the Duchess of Alba in Madrid will be exhibited at the Arnold Seligmann gallery in June.

"The Bathroom of a Palace." Vogue 66 (November 15, 1925), p. 83.

Joseph Breck. "Modern Decorative Arts: Some Recent Purchases." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 21 (February 1926), p. 38, fig. 2.

Penelope Hunter. "Art Déco: The Last Hurrah." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 30 (June–July 1972), p. 263, ill.

Marvin D. Schwartz and Betsy Wade. The New York Times Book of Antiques. New York, 1972, p. 81.

Christine Wallace Laidlaw. "The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Modern Design: 1917–1929." Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts 8 (Spring 1988), p. 101, fig. 11.

Alastair Duncan. A. A. Rateau. Exh. cat., DeLorenzo Gallery. New York, [1990], p. 28, ill. p. 24, dates it about 1920–22.

Franck Olivier-Vial and François Rateau. Armand-Albert Rateau: Un Baroque chez les modernes. Paris, 1992, p. 69.

Jane Adlin. "Vanities: Art of the Dressing Table." Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 71 (Fall 2013), p. 41, no. 54, ill. (color) and front cover (color).

Jared Goss. French Art Deco. New York, 2014, pp. 179–81, 247 nn. 2, 3 (under no. 50), p. 261, no. 50a, ill. (color).

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