My Highlights from The Salon: Art + Design
Perhaps the earliest iteration of this expandable coffee table design was in the sitting room of the Born residence (executed in limed oak) circa 1939. The Regency inspiration for the model is indicative of Frank’s interest in historical furniture types in the 1930s. The cut-out style of the legs makes the table into something of an abstraction of the earlier three-dimensional prototype, perhaps as a nod to Frank’s association with artists associated with the Surrealist movement. There is some variation in the profile of the legs. The center nob is depicted in the legs of this model as it appears in photographs of the living rooms of the Francisco Murature residence (top photo on right) and the Carlos Alberto Acevedo and Ana Cárcano de Acevedo residence (second photo on right) which Frank designed 1940-41. For the Born commission, the legs did not include the central knob.
18 in. (46 cm) H x 43 in. (109 cm) L x 31.5 (80 cm) W open/15.25 in. (39 cm) W closed
Signature: Comte S.A. paper tag with “F [factura?]: 121816,” “No. 2513149-2.” Numbering impressed “1467”
Image rights: Gallery BAC
Gallery BAC, Jean-Michel Frank in Argentina, New York, 2010, pgs. 26, 28, 31; Mo Amelia Teitelbaum, The Stylemakers: Minimalism and Classic Modernism 1915-1945, London, 2010, pgs. 133, 139, 145; Léopold Diego Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank: Adolphe Channaux, Paris, 1980, pgs. 189, 190, 191; Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute-Monde in the Art Deco Period, New York, 2008, pg. 168
French interior designer Jean-Michel Frank championed minimal interiors through the mixing of styles and cultures. According to Frank, “the noble frames that came to us from the past can receive today’s creations.” The severity of modern design was lessened by Frank’s all-encompassing approach that gladly mixed styles, cultures, and materials to create multi-dimensional surfaces and compositions. Frank’s playful combination of spare and rectilinear details, inspired by the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, and sumptuous materials such as shagreen, mica, and straw marquetry helped soften the oftentimes austere interiors pioneered during the period in France and abroad.