Fondation Serralves, Porto. Photo Credit Gallery Berdj Achdjian
This article has for purpose to present one of the major carpets: the carpet of the salon DE L’HOTEL DU COLLECTIONNEUR by Jacques Emile Ruhlmann, which is considered by many Art Deco specialists, as the greatest set of the Art Deco period.
Texte: The Hôtel du Salon du Collectionneur is a building which has been built at the occasion of the Paris Decorative Arts Exhibition of 1925. To conceirve it Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann (1879-1933) ask to Pierre Patout for its architecture, and to some of his friends to assist him for furniture and decoration. Gardiner wrote: Its sumptuous decoration, rich use of colour and elegant modernization of traditional forms and techniques have led many critics to consider the Grand Salon the greatest achievement of French Art Deco.
This carpet has been first published in Susan Day’s book on Carpets of the 20th century. This carpet has been exhibited in many international exhibitions:
The Hotel du Collectionneur was the most ambitious project by an individual conceptor. It housed a suite of rooms conceived by Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann. It was the most acclaimed pavilion in the exhibition
Pierre Patout designed it. The Grand Salon was the focal point of this Hotel or Pavilion. Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann ask others leading artists to participate this project, including Emile Gaudissard for the carpet, Jean Dupas for the major painting “Les Perruches”, Jean Dunand for a cooperation for the Donkey and Hedgehog cabinet by Ruhlmann, Antoine Bourdelle for sculpture and Edgar Brandt, for ironery.
For Mr Gardiner and others Art Deco specialists, its sumptuous decoration, its rich use of colour and its elegant modernization of traditional forms and techniques made of the Grand Salon the greatest achievement of French Art Deco.
About Jacques Emile Ruhlmann (by Metropolitan Museum of New York)
Born in Paris in 1879, Ruhlmann was the son of a decorating contractor. In 1907, he took over the family business, and soon expanded the enterprise to include furniture design and interior decoration. By 1913, he was producing works in the new, distinctively elegant, and unabashedly luxurious style that would come to be known as Art Deco. By the 1920s, Ruhlmann was the most prestigious and sought-after designer of his day, commanding a team of more than 500 skilled workers and assistants.
Taking as his point of departure the great cabinet-making heritage of late-eighteenth-century France, Ruhlmann created works of classic simplicity, fashioned of the finest materials and according to the highest standards of craftsmanship. His designs, notable for their harmonious proportions, architectonic structure, and restrained use of ornament, are graceful and highly original translations of the Neoclassical tradition into a modern idiom. Like his ancien régime forebears, Ruhlmann excelled in the use of rare and exotic woods, ivory, lacquer, and precious metals; exquisite veneers; intricate inlay; and scrollwork. The time and materials involved in Ruhlmann’s creations made them prohibitively expensive for all but the wealthiest. One very large and elaborate Ruhlmann piece reportedly took up to 1,000 hours of labor and cost the equivalent of a house.
Nevertheless, Ruhlmann was successful, owing in large part to the patronage of the rich, entrepreneurial class of post–World War I Paris, who were eager to advertise their wealth, taste, and sophistication. The association that Ruhlmann offered with the aristocratic styles of the past—he was dubbed “the Riesener of the twentieth century,” a reference to the celebrated royal cabinetmaker to Louis XVI—made his work all the more appealing to those who saw themselves as the “new royalty” of modern France.
By the time of the famous 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes—the event that gave Art Deco its name—the taste for the luxury style that Ruhlmann epitomized had reached its peak. His pavilion at the Paris Exposition was the fair’s most admired attraction.
The stock market crash of 1929 and ensuing worldwide Depression diminished the wealth and undermined the societal attitudes that had sustained Art Deco. Ironically, Ruhlmann’s own death in 1933, at the age of 54, coincided almost precisely with the decline of the style that he so spectacularly pioneered and promoted.
Emile-Jacques RUHLMANN Jean Patout
EXHIBITION OF THE CARPET IN THE SERRALVES FONDATION: 17 JULY 2009