9743

AN ART DECO PERIOD CHIMNEYPIECE IN THE ‘ANTIQUE’ TASTE

Rome. Circa 1940.

Measurements

Height: 67" (170 cm)
Width: 53 1/8" (135 cm)
Depth 15 3/4" (40cm)

Research
Of Oriental alabaster and statuary marble. The projecting molded statuary cornice above an Oriental alabaster frieze with applied statuary vases and obelisks in the antique taste is set with two concealed doors with foliate ormolu handles. The projecting molded statuary shelf above an Oriental alabaster beveled surround with a thin statuary fillet defining a rectangular aperture. The continuous Oriental alabaster flanks edged with vertical molded fillets. The whole raised on a solid statuary molded hearth.

Provenance:
By repute, a villa in EUR, Rome.
Removed from an important Genoese private home.

This chimney is designed in the Art Deco style, which favored bold, geometric forms in a departure from the organic, feminine shapes and pale colors of the Art Nouveau. After the restraint observed during World War I, designers referred to earlier movements for inspiration, including Neoclassicism. Much like during the neoclassical movement of the 18th century, a revived enthusiasm for antiquity was initiated, and artists and architects of the 20th century were able to travel to archaeological sites of interest, such as Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Egyptian Valley of Kings, discovered in 1922, as well as Pompeii and Herculaneum.

The shape, proportions and classical imagery of this piece are related to those of the fireplace designed by Giovanni Muzio for the marble hall of the Triennale exhibition in Monza in 1930. The room was planned to show off the beauty of Italian marble and the skills of its craftsmen in a classical setting. The Muzio fireplace itself is surmounted by a large and broad obelisk inlaid with panels of highly figured marble. The doorways either side, which are contained within arches, are flanked by marble urns.1 These motifs are echoed on this alabaster and white marble fireplace along the frieze, where the obelisks, vases and ewers are silhouetted in low relief against the alabaster background, recalling Roman bas reliefs.

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.