Thursday, March 21, 2013

Magical Rateau

The collection of the Duchess of Alba by the legendary Armand Albert Rateau will be auctioned at Christie's Paris in the month of May. These interiors, so fanciful and yet so ordered have an other worldly quality and even more so in period pictures.

“The House of Alba has decided to sell the Armand Albert Rateau furniture commissioned by the 17th Duke of Alba, don Jacobo Fitz-James Stuart in the early 1920s in France, in order to support the funding of its heritage and of its various palaces throughout Spain as well as supporting new projects for the family.... These pieces of furniture are all that remain of a larger ensemble that no longer exists. They do not form part of the historic collection of the House of Alba nor do they relate to the history of Spain”, stated the House of Alba.

Détail d'un lampadaire aux oiseaux. © Christie's Images LTD, 2013
© Christie's Images LTD, 2013

The palace of Alba project is in the same spirit as his work for Jeanne Lanvin and dates to the same period. "Armand Albert Rateau’s bronzes are creations of infinite poetry and of exceptional quality and subtlety. They relate to the hedonist world born from the designer’s imagination and nourished by his first journey to Naples and Pompeï in 1914, accompanied by a group of friends which included the jewelry designer Cartier and with whom he visited the sites revealed by archeological excavations at the end of the 18th century. During this trip he discovered the bronze furniture on show at the Naples Museum, as well as the wholly fantastic universe created by the decorative frescoes which covered the houses at Pompeï. "

ARMAND ALBERT RATEAU (1882-1938) Important panneau décoratif à encadrement en ogive
image: Drouot
The above lacquer panel is from the Pavillon de l'élégances at the 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs.
Though the contents of the rooms decorated by Rateau for the Duchess of Alba never traveled outside the palace, the designer did create a reconstruction of the commission which was exhibited in Paris and New York, showing the importance he gave to the work. The panels are not included in the sale. You'll have to hire someone to help you if you want the marble tub and bronze and gilt wood furnishings to have a backdrop.

quotes and images and further information: Christie's

Please continue to St Tyl to see exquisite fabrics by jewelry and furnishing designer, 
Jean Boggio, click! 

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