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André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk
Biography

André ARBUS (1903-1969)

 

André Arbus was born into a family of cabinetmakers and he worked at his father’s workshop while studying at the Ecole des Beaux-arts in Toulouse.
Once he had completed his studies, Arbus took his father’s place in the family business, becoming artistic director.
From 1925 onwards, Arbus participated regularly in Parisian salons such as the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs, the Salon d’Automne and most importantly the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs, sending in diverse pieces of furniture that received immediate acclaim from the critics.
From 1930 until 1932, when he moved to Paris, André Arbus regularly exhibited his work in the newly inaugurated gallery L’Epoque in Paris alongside the sculptor Vadim Androusov and the painter Marc Saint-Saëns.
At the age of thirty, he was considered to be ‘at the forefront of a return to French quality and tradition’, inspired by Louis XVI and Directoire styles, to which he remained faithful throughout his career.
In 1935, Arbus published ‘Le Retour à la Courbe’ (‘The Return to the Curve’), a summary of his principles of grace and elegance, developed in reaction against an increasingly mechanized world. It was in 1936 that he obtained his first commission: to furnish a number of Ministries.

Pieces by Arbus were presented in numerous pavilions at the Exposition des Arts et Techniques dans le vie moderne of 1937.
In 1939 he participated in the New York World’s Fair with a monumental ‘manifesto piece’ in gold-lacquered sycamore, that foreshadowed his 40’s work.
Directly after the war, the State began once again to issue official commissions and Arbus became the appointed contractor of the Mobilier National (a government organization devoted to the creation and design of furniture).  
This role led him to participate in the renovation of the Château de Rambouillet and the Palais de l’Elysée with Louis Sue and Jean-Charles Moreux.
Another important commission he was entrusted with was the Plantier lighthouse near Marseille from 1947 to 1951.     
André Arbus continued to participate in numerous salons and exhibitions and to accept prestigious private and public commissions (the Palais de l’Elysée, ocean liners etc).
In the 1950s, Arbus turned towards sculpture and began to design his ‘sculpture-furniture’. He entrusted the creation of his designs to friends such as Henri Parayre, Vadim Androusov and Sylva Bernt. His first bronze pieces appeared in 1952.

Sculpture then remained his primary occupation until he died in 1969.

Biography

André Arbus (1903-1969)

Writing desk, circa 1935-1937

Rare parchment « slant top writing desk » opening on an interior in sycamore,

with a central alcove in rotunda framed with two columns of three drawers

Sculpted ivory handles. Original bronze key
The lower part presents two drawers. It stands on four thin feet, slightly curved, with a bronze end

 

Height 47 1/2 in (120,5 cm) - Width 26 1/4 in (66,5 cm) - Depth 18 in (45,5 cm)

 

Literature:

Y. Brunhammer, «Mobilier français 1930-1960», éd Massin, Paris, 1997, p.81

B. Foucart, J.-L. Gaillemin, «Les Décorateurs des années 40», éd Norma, Paris, 1998, pp. 14, 76
Y. Brunhammer, «André Arbus, Architecte décorateur des années 40», éd Norma, Paris, 2003, p.124, 129

André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk
André Arbus - Writing desk