Design Masterworks 17 November 2016

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6

Maison Desny


Rare table lamp

France, c. 1930
chrome-plated metal, glass, mirror, paper shade
5½ dia x 17¼ h in (14 x 44 cm)

result: $13,750


estimate: $15,000–20,000

Stamped to underside: [DESNY PARIS MADE IN FRANCE].

provenance: Private Collection, Paris | Private Collection, New York

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Maison Desny

Machine-Age Luxury

Maison Desny was one of the premier ateliers of the French modernist movement that created a rich and varied output of designs. Despite the firm’s contributions to the field of modernism, information regarding the firm remains shrouded in mystery. The curious name of “Desny” comes from a combination of the names of the two founders, Messrs. Desnet and René Nauny. The former circus artists, Desnet and Nauny founded the firm in Paris in 1927. Maison Desny crafted designs that emphasized the machine process through their collinear forms. However, the sleek forms of their designs are warmed by the use of accent woods and deep and sloping lines. In the commissioned interiors of Maison Desny, the pair chose to utilize warm woods like lemonwood and sycamore, which they mixed with modern art and their signature angular furniture and lighting. Noted clients of Maison Desny included King Albert of Belgium, Pierre David-Weill, and GeorgesHenri Rivière.

Maison Desny crafted a range of different functional forms that included punch cups, cocktail sets, and cordial goblets. Choosing to work in metal alloys, Maison Desny was able to create large-scale pieces like centerpieces and boxes. However, it is in the field of lighting designs that the firm truly shone. Utilizing geometric forms mixed with layers of glass, Maison Desny created glowing works of futurism. Sadly, Maison Desny closed its doors after the tragic death of Nauny in 1933. Desnet continued to create modernist jewelry designs and also owned several jewelry stores, in addition to opening up a sea aquarium. The firm is best remembered for choosing to employ such a wide range of talented architects, designers, and artists that included Alberto Giacometti, Michel Frank, and Andre Masson. In particular, the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens was a principal designer of the products of Maison Desny.