Aux Orchidées (With Orchids) Bed
Louis Majorelle (1859–1926, French)
Atelier Majorelle, Nancy, France
walnut and macassar ebony wood with thuya, amaranth, bois des îles and burl amboyna maquetry; mother-of-pearl and copper inlays
headboard 71 3/4 x 65 3/4 x 9 inches; footboard 34 3/4 x 66 x 13
Louis Majorelle was a master of Art Nouveau furniture and began his career with the family cabinetmaking business in Nancy, a small town 200 miles southeast of Paris. This expertise in woodworking would prove useful for his furniture designs. This Majorelle bed, decorated with orchids, was exhibited at the 1900 Exposition Universelle, a world’s fair in Paris that was overtaken by Art Nouveau design. Majorelle exhibited dining room and library furniture at the fair as well as bedroom furniture. Majorelle’s favorite woods included walnut, mahogany, pallissander, amaranth, purpleheart, thuya and teak to which he then added decorative metal and mother-of-pearl inlays for his furniture, as seen in this intricately-decorated bed. In 1901 Majorelle was a founder, along with fellow designer Émile Gallé, of the École de Nancy, where he also served as Vice President. At the forefront of Art Nouveau design, the designers of the École de Nancy were inspired by Japonisme (a French take on the Japanese aesthetic) and nature—like all Art Nouveau designers—but were also influenced by Baroque and Rococo styles.
ON VIEW in Art Nouveau Gallery 4
Collection Kirkland Museum of Fine & Decorative Art