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Émile Gallé "Pavot" Wooden Chest of Drawers


This chest of drawers by Émile Gallé is an exquisite specimen of a "Pavot" commode, featuring a table top and drawer fronts inlaid in various woods, with poppies raised on carved and tapered supporting legs. The wonderfully weighty body of the chest is supported by legs so delicate, slender, and finely carved that it appears as if the chest is all but suspended in air. Gallé framed the commode apron with colonnade borders and poppy bud capitals, a beautiful nod to the French Art Nouveau style that he mastered.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Artist: Émile Gallé
Circa: 1898
Dimensions: 29" height, 29" width, 17" depth
Materials: French walnut, Fruitwood marquetry, Together with two original keys
Signed: "Gallé"
Literature: Chest of drawers pictured in The Paris Salons, 1895-1914, Vol. III: Furniture, by Alastair Duncan, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 1996, p. 221; Chest of drawers also pictured in Gallé Furniture, by Alastair Duncan and Georges de Bartha, Woodbridge, Suffolk, 2012, p. 327

As legend has it, Demeter, the Greek goddess of harvest, created the poppy flower to assuage her grief while looking for her daughter Persephone, who had been kidnapped by Hades. Henceforth, Demeter was depicted with wreaths of poppies in her hair. Gallé recommended the poppy, which connotes sleep, as a suitable motif for bedroom furniture. A chest of drawers such as this one from Émile Gallé would be an integral part of any French Art Nouveau aesthete's bedroom.