Introduction to Art Deco FurnitureArt Deco is a design style that originated in France during the 1920s and 1930s. It is characterized by its use of bold geometric patterns, luxurious materials, and smooth, streamlined shapes. One of the most significant contributions that Art Deco made to the world of design is the creation of furniture that is both beautiful and functional. Art Deco furniture typically features clean lines, strong symmetrical elements, and an emphasis on form over function. This style is often associated with luxury, sophistication, and glamour. Today, the most expensive Art Deco furniture pieces can fetch millions of dollars at auctions.
The History of the Eileen Gray Dragon ChairOne of the most famous examples of Art Deco furniture is the Eileen Gray Dragon Chair. Gray, a talented Irish designer and architect, created the chair in 1917 for her own use. The chair is characterized by its asymmetrical shape, which resembles a dragon. At the time, the chair was not widely appreciated or recognized. However, in 1972, when Gray was in her 90s, a French dealer named Jacques Doucet discovered the chair in her Paris apartment and brought it to public attention. This discovery led to a renewed interest in Gray’s work and the Art Deco movement as a whole.
The Unique Characteristics of French Art Deco FurnitureFrench Art Deco furniture was characterized by its luxurious materials, polished surfaces, and intricate details. It often featured veneers made of exotic woods and metals such as bronze, nickel, and chrome. The use of these materials added both glamour and durability to the furniture.
The Increasing Value of Art Deco Furniture Over TimeAs interest in Art Deco design has grown, so too has the value of Art Deco furniture. In 2009, the Eileen Gray Dragon Chair sold for a record-breaking $28 million at auction, making it the world’s highest-priced French Art Deco work sold through auction. Investing in Art Deco furniture can be a smart financial move, as these pieces tend to hold their value and increase in worth over time. However, it’s important to seek expert advice before making any large purchases.
The Significance of the Eileen Gray Dragon Chair in Art DecoThe Eileen Gray Dragon Chair is now considered one of the most important and iconic pieces of Art Deco furniture. It represents Gray’s innovative approach to design, which was ahead of its time and highly influential on later designers. The chair’s asymmetrical shape, bold lines, and use of luxurious materials are now associated with the Art Deco movement as a whole.
How the Eileen Gray Dragon Chair Was Discovered and AuctionedThe Eileen Gray Dragon Chair was discovered in 1972 by Jacques Doucet, a French dealer who recognized its significance. Doucet bought the chair from Gray’s family and began exhibiting it in his gallery.
Notable Collectors and Admirers of Art Deco FurnitureOver the years, many prominent collectors and admirers of Art Deco furniture have helped to increase its popularity and value. These include fashion designers Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Berge, who owned the Eileen Gray Dragon Chair before it was auctioned in 2009. Other notable collectors of Art Deco furniture include American film director Tim Burton and the late architect Zaha Hadid.
Other Notable and Expensive Examples of Art Deco FurnitureThe Eileen Gray Dragon Chair is not the only Art Deco furniture piece that has fetched a high price at auction. Other notable examples include:
- The Jean Dunand Manchette armchair, sold for $6.7 million in 2009
- The Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann table, sold for $5 million in 2015
- The Armand Albert Rateau cabinet, sold for $2.4 million in 2013