Magnificent Set of Furniture by Rateau

Daniella Ohad
Feb 28, 2013 9:04PM


It was one of the most surreal and magnificent commissions of the Art Deco era. In 1920, just a year after opening his studio, French designer Armand Albert Rateau was commissioned to create the furniture for the private apartments of the Duchess of Alba, doña María del Rosario de Silva y Gurtubay (1900-1934), in the Liria Palace, Madrid on the occasion of her marriage to Fitz-James Stuart y Falco (1878-1953). The bronze furniture celebrated the personal style of Rateau who is known to have had three major commissions throughout his career.

He was first commissioned to design a set of furniture for the NYC penthouses of the Blumenthal family, with chairs that have recently sold for nearly $2 mm. The second major commission came from couturier Jeanne Lanvin to whom he designed not only the interior of her Parisian mansion on rue Barbet-de-Jouy, but also her houses in Le Vésinet. The bathroom from her apartment is now on a permanent view at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs. The third major commission which took Rateau five years to complete was for the Duke of Alba.

Now, Christie’s France has announced the sale the valuable furniture, known to most of us only in photos. The official reason, is that the House of Alba has decided to sell the pieces to support the funding of various palaces throughout Spain. 

Daniella Ohad