Écritoire-Bibliothèque (Writing Desk-Bookcase)

Maker and role
Artist: Hector Guimard, French, 1867-1942
ca. 1900-ca. 1905
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Object detail

Pearwood, with bronze, glass, and velvet
83 x 57 x 26 1/2in (210.8 x 144.8 x 67.3cm)
Credit line
Gift of Jeanne and Irving Mathews
Accession number
Further information
Guimard's sweeping curves and forms appear in architecture throughout the city of Paris, especially on his famous cast iron subway entrances for the Métro.

The delicately carved pearwood of this work enhances the undulating lines and foliage of the Art Nouveau style. Guimard's characteristic assymetry prevails, from the general form to the bronze keyholes and hinges. He wrote:
...when I design a piece of furniture...I think about those universal laws demonstrated by nature. Beauty there appears to us in constant variety. There is no parallelism, no symmetry; forms perpetuate themselves in movements that are never the same.

The leading French architect-designer in this style, Guimard viewed architecture as an all-embracing art, devoting as much attention to interior furnishings as to the exteriors of his buildings.
Modern Art at the McNay: A Brief History and Pictorial Survey of the Collection; William J. Chiego; 2001; p. 61
Subject period


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