Pair of Wrought Iron Candelabra by Gilbert PoilleratBy Gilbert Poillerat, read more.
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About this piece
Four leaf entwined arms in the form of branches, topped with gilt candle cups, rising from a circular wooden base with central ball and gilded obelisk on circular stand
France, circa 1940
Infused with movement and energy, Gilbert Poillerat's design took Art Deco metal-work in new and exciting directions. As a vivid demonstration his Candelabra almost defy their base material, the animated compositions redefining the malleability quotient of wrought iron and what could be possible. In doing so, Poillerat sought to exploit the new technical advances of machine orienta- tion in what was becoming a rapidly industrialised society.
Following his graduation, Poillerat worked with arguably the most influential wrought-iron master of them all, Edgar Brandt. There can be no doubt that this time was hugely important, expos- ing him to the new ideas that blossomed during the Art Deco move- ment, when wrought-iron escaped the constraints of tradition that had kept it static for so long. In turn he exposed the older classicist Brandt to the energies of the rising avant-garde.
Though Poillerat is famous for his 'calligraphic' aesthetic, he did find elements of nature to work with, as evidently seen in the Can- delabra. Avoiding floral motifs, he would regularly use branches and leaves (and elsewhere coral), involving complex intertwined and twisted compositions. Such embellishments would often be combined with strong stylised evocations of Egyptian or neoclas- sical motifs, culled from his vast knowledge of historical architec- ture, as seen with the central Obelisk (and again seen elsewhere with his dramatic use of the Antelope skull).
As Joan Kahr affirms, Poillerat was never known to stamp his work and neither are the candelabra stamped. She explains that "he firmly believed that the work itself was a signature, showing as it did the style and quality of the designer. Since Edgar Brandt's work was always being copied, Brandt had a policy of stamping his objects. Poillerat was not upset when people copied him. He was too eager to move on to the next design."
We are grateful to Joan Kahr M.A. who as the leading academic on the work of Edgar Brandt, was responsible for bringing Gilbert Poillerat to wider renown in her 1992 article in Metalsmith Maga- zine. References: Edgar Brandt, Master of Art Deco Ironwork Pub. Harry N. Abrams LTD. 1999 | Edgar Brandt Art Deco Ironwork Pub. Schiffer Publishing LTD. 2010
H 42cm x W 35cm x Dia. 19cm
H 16¾" x W 14" x Dia. 7½"
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