Design Masterworks 19 May 2016

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Line Vautrin

Rare Romain mirror

France, c. 1965
talosel resin, mirrored glass
19 dia x 2 d in (48 x 5 cm)

result: $35,000

estimate: $30,000–50,000

Incised signature to reverse: [Line Vautrin]. Wright would like to thank Marie-Laure Bonnaud-Vautrin for her assistance in cataloging this lot.

provenance: Acquired in the 1960s by a Parisian Collector
literature: Line Vautrin: Mirrors, Mauries, ppg. 6, 22, 26 illustrate similar examples

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Technique and Substance

The Designs of Line Vautrin

The subtle playfulness of Line Vautrin’s designs combine a delightful melding of delicate forms and varied mediums. Untrained as an artist, her approach was linear and developmental. Starting out in heavier materials, such as bronze, tin and other alloys, she mastered smelting and enameling in her jewelry, buttons and boxes. As she became more established and recognized in her medium, Vautrin began to experiment with a synthetic resin that came onto the market just towards the end of World War II. She dubbed the material Talosel — an acronym fused between “acetate de cellulose elaboré” — a very clever and whimsical adaptation. This substance was utilized in varying colors and thicknesses. Her artistic prowess goes even further when she engages her designs with convex mirrors, giving the viewer a distorted sense of self, time and place, yet maintaining to brighten an interior. Each piece is assembled by hand and decorated using various techniques of heating, scoring, fragmentation, highlighting inherent imperfections, and then bonded together with acetone epoxy.

This present lot, the version dubbed Romain, highlights some of her best work ever produced. As a composition, the evenly spaced, radiating fins and multicolored richness is balanced by the convex mirror. These protrusions, much like a radiant sun, suggest a cosmic harmony between the viewer and nature. With asterisk-shaped markings to the exterior edge and mirror’s perimeter, the composition is complete.

Originally acquired from a shop in Pigalle, Paris, this work resided in a Parisian interior for nearly fifty years. Vacillating between Neo-Romantic undertones and the gravity of the cosmos, this mirror speaks to Line Vautrin’s artistic importance in 20th century design.