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Louis Majorelle

Firmly rooted in the craft of woodwork and furniture-making, Louis Majorelle’s furniture subtly recalls the splendors of furniture from the 1700s. Majorelle often ornamented his pieces with gracefully sculpted gilt mounts, while the sinuous natural forms which inspired him suggested the C-scrolls of the Louis XV era. Using a new vocabulary of natural forms and the sumptuous lines of Art Nouveau, Majorelle's furniture merged old and new in a tantalizing way. This combination of exceptional craftsmanship with the new aesthetic was celebrated by the public and critics alike, who saw in Majorelle a cherished link between the grandeur of the eighteenth century and the promise of the modern age. The influence of Émile Gallé inspired him to take his production in new directions in the 1890s, when Majorelle's furniture began to reflect the Art Nouveau designs created by his contemporaries. He continued to experiment with Art Nouveau motifs that were gaining popularity and began working with floral decoration in marquetry, but overall, his furniture still betrayed a Victorian sensibility, though of the highest quality, and in a wide range of wood veneers.