Painted and patinated iron, executed by Comté. Argentina
Ex-collection Huici Family.
By descent to Gustavo Huici
Published M.A. Teitelbaum, 'The Stylemakers' Philip Wilson Publishing, 2010 page 235.
The model also illustrated P-E Martin-Vivien, 'Jean-Michel Frank', editions Norma, 2006 page 314
With a certificate of authenticity from the Comite Jean-Michel Frank dated 3 August 2012.
This console table relates to an important sub-set of furniture that the French designer Jean-Michel Frank first envisioned in the mid 1920's, and produced through Chanaux et Cie in France, and Comté in Argentina, for the following 15 or so years.
Frank's original concept for this console was for Nancy Cunard's seventeenth-century apartment on the Ile Saint Louis in Paris in 1923. At around the same time he created similar pieces for the Vicomte and Vicomtesse de Noailles at the Hotel Bischoffsheim on the Place des Etats-Unis. This included the iconic matching chairs to the table which share the same tapering patinated legs and pale brown leather.
Of all Frank's designs this series of severely beautiful, minimalist, neo-classically inspired furniture are his most avant-garde creations. A direct contrast to the larger scale pieces, often in unusual and expensive materials, such as he would continue to create through his career, these are Frank's most profound celebration of the Louis XVI style.
Created for some of the wealthiest patrons of the day both Cunard and the de Noailles families, amongst notable others, rejected the opulence of their inherited collections and instead worked with Frank to edit their surroundings to the bare minimum of decoration. The purity of these pieces and the historical tradition of their design appealed to both the intellectual rigour of these highly knowledgeable collectors, and also to the prevailing modernist aesthetic.
The patronage of Frank by the wealthiest families in Argentina was part of an established tradition of looking to Europe for the collecting of art and design. His working relationship with Comté mirrored that of his with Chananux in Paris and the interpretation of Frank's design to specific dimensions at the behest of the Huichi family demonstrates the immense confidence and aesthetic sophistication of these collectors with whom Frank enjoyed a long and intimate relationship. The direct provenance of these tables to the Huici family is of particular interest. From one of the wealthiest families in Chile, in 1880 Eugenia Huici married José Tomás Errázuriz, it was their joint wealth and artistic vision that allowed them, and Eugenia specifically, to become leading figures in European modernism. She was an early supporter and patron of Picasso and formed a central part of the well documented artistic life of Paris in the early 20th century. By the mid 1930's she was in her 70's and yet remained a vital presence and influence to the younger generation such as the Noailles. Cecil Beaton wrote of her:
"The whole aesthetic of modern interior decoration, and many of the concepts of simplicity, which are so generally acknowledged today, can be laid at her remarkable doorstep."
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