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Louis Majorelle (French, 1859–1926)

c. 1900

Medium walnut with original leather upholstery Measurements H: 48 1/4 x W: 22 5/8 x D: 26 in. (122.55 x 57.47 x 66.4 cm) Credit Decorative Arts Purchase Fund Accession Number 84.33.2 Location Not on View


In 1900 when the Art Nouveau movement was at its peak in France, Louis Majorelle and other French designers drew inspiration for their designs primarily from nature. A thistle, the symbol of Majorelle’s home province of Lorraine, is worked onto the original leather upholstery of this chair. Although the background is rather abstract, the plant itself is more faithfully and naturally depicted, and thus consistent with the highly organic character of the Art Nouveau style. Majorelle is thought to have adopted the process of a sculptor by working out the initial design in clay. He then translated the model into wood. The form of this chair with its intriguing curves, twists, and turns has an exciting, organic vitality. At the same time, it is very controlled and unified, qualities that attest to Majorelle’s skill as a designer.