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Gabriel Argy-Rousseau Pâte de Verre "Eventail de Fleurs" Night Light

Argy-Rousseau's near-unique ability to gracefully soften the starkness of Art Deco design without ever sacrificing the strength of the design is on full display in this remarkable, petite masterpiece. A plaque of a five fold fan is artfully decorated with pink and purple flowers, with feather like splashes of amethyst. The Art Deco fan motif evolved organically from the Baroque sunburst design seen during the Louis XV era. This radial pattern frequently accompanied depictions of contemporary skyscrapers, symbolizing the bright promise of the modern age. Argy Rousseau’s collaborator, the sculptor Marcel Bourraine produced a sculpture entitled Fan Dancer, whereby a nude French woman dances with a large Chinese folding fan. Art Deco art frequently featured themes like theater box fashion, 18th-century masquerades, and chinoiserie, making the fan a widely used element in illustrations. Argy Rousseau decorated the fans with Japanese pompom chrysanthemums. In the Edo period, the chrysanthemum was one of the most popular motifs for porcelains exported to Europe. Coinciding with the fall of the Qing dynasty, both Chinese and Japanese flower motifs trickled into Art Deco Design, most prominently appearing in the haute couture dresses of Paul Poiret.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: YEL-21244
Artist: Gabriel Argy-Rousseau
Country: France
Circa: 1928
Dimensions: 7" height, 6.8" width.
Materials: Pâte de verre, translucent glass, Wrought Iron
Literature: A similar piece is pictured in: cf. J. Bloch-Dermont, Les Pâtes de Verre G. Argy-Rousseau Catalogue Raisonné, Paris, 1990, p. 217, no. 28.12 for another veilleuse of this model.

Gabriel Rousseau adopted the suffix 'Argy' in honor of his wife Marianne Argyriadès. She was his best friend's sister. They all shared a love of Greco-Roman and Egyptian antiquity. Argy-Rousseau was interested in many things, studied at the École de Sèvres, but also completed an engineering degree. Throughout his life, he conducted research in areas as diverse as dental porcelain and color photography. In his private life he always surrounded himself with creative personalities, including Henri Cros, who had long been known for his glass works using the 'pâte-de-verre' technique. Argy-Rousseau began to work successfully with the material even before the First World War, after the war he founded a glass factory that had 20 employees at its peak. He developed his own technique for producing his ideas: Argy-Rousseau first modeled his sketched idea in plaster, which was then covered with wax. A refractory hollow mold consisting of several parts was then molded from this model in several work steps. He even produced his own glass. It was crushed into powder and colored by the addition of metal oxides. With the help of fine brushes, the now liquid glass mass, which had been washed several times, was applied precisely to the walls of the refractory mould. Two more layers followed, one after the other, to create strength and at the same time prevent air bubbles from forming. The last layer was resin to further fix the pate de verre. The model was then placed upside down in a wood-fired oven, where the piece was then fired at high temperatures. After cooling, the mold was removed, the now solid object cleaned with acid and the last bumps polished off with a wheel. This is how these wonderful, transparent, at the same time colorful, delicate-looking objects came into being.