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Robb Design Portfolio: Waxing Brilliant

Sheila Gibson Stoodley

Designed for the Paris 1900 International Exhibition during the height of the Art Nouveau movement, this pair of silver candelabra foreshadowed the arrival of Art Deco. “The Art Nouveau style came out of naturalism, with floral forms and organic lines,” explains Daniel Morris, cofounder of New York’s Historical Design gallery, which is offering the pair for $125,000. “Candelabra tended to be floral or figurative, but these have a very unusual abstract style. [They contain] moving, jagged lines that would be seen and used later in the 20th century.”

Morris marvels at how Vinzenz Mayer & Söhne, court jewelers to then-emperor of Austria Franz Josef, was able to craft them. “The amount of labor involved is just remarkable,” he says, describing the 20-inch-tall pieces as energetic and powerful. Yet, notes Morris, all of that energy and power could pose a problem for the candelabra’s next owner. “You’ll need a hell of a table to balance them.” 

Historical Design, 212.593.4528, www.historicaldesign.com

Photo by Bonhams
Photo by Simon Clay/RM Auctions
Photo by Shooterz.biz/RM Auctions
Photo by Daniel Simon