Art Deco Wrought Iron Mirror
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About this piece
Hammered wrought-iron rectangular frame with concave corners, underlined by geometric elements around the perimeter and openwork pediment decorated with a stylized bird, flowers and foliage. Enclosing the original beveled mirror plate, with hanging mounts and floral pins
France, circa 1925
Alluding to both the retreating Art Nouveau and the new industrial aesthetic of modernism, the mirrors over-all composition is led by an openwork crest containing a stooping stork against a background of stylized flowers and foliage
The stork motif was quite possibly inspired by a Japanese textile (fig 1) that had been reproduced in the 1888 Parisian journal Le Japon Artistique and had been widely circulated. Another set of similar birds appear on an 18th Century Japanese silk in the Musee des Arts Decoratifs and would also have been well known to most 1920s Parisian designers. Edgar Brandt used the motif to dramatic effect on his Masterpiece, the wrought iron grille called Les Cigognes d'Alsace.
The Japonisme influence on French design is well documented and the crest conveys this sense of imported serenity, as opposed to the over-charged ornamentation of Art Nouveau. Likewise, the frame of the mirror is stripped of realist decoration and relies on the qualities of geometric proportion and material, following the modernist principles of simplicity making good design.
For years, in the case of wrought iron, technical factors had limited ambitions but with the imaginative use of modern tools, the possibilities seemed endless.
The crest's finely realized flowers would have been machine stamped, power hammers used to forge the heavy frame. Art Deco was now harnessing the might of the Machine Age, reflecting a society that was industrializing rapidly.
H 135cm x W 94cm
H 53¼" x W 37¼"
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