Maquette for "Arbre Cubiste (Cubist Tree)"

Designer: Jan Martel (French, Nantes 1896–1966 Paris)

Designer: Joël Martel (French, Nantes 1896–1966 Paris)

Date: 1925

Medium: Painted wood

Dimensions: 31 1/2 x 15 1/8 x 15 in. (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

Rights and Reproduction: © 2018 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Twins Jan and Joël Martel are best known for the four concrete Cubist "trees" they designed for a garden at the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes in Paris, a maquette of which is shown here. More than fifteen feet high, each tree had a cruciform trunk supporting quadrangular planes attached vertically and at angles, suggesting foliage. Like other examples of cutting-edge design at the fair, the Martel trees were derided in the popular press.