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Edgar Brandt and Daum “La Tentation” Table Lamp

A French Art Deco serpent lamp by Edgar Brandt and Daum titled “La Tentation”. The lamp features a rich brown, bronze Boa Python, almost completely vertically extended, wrapped around itself to form a base with its tail, and an ensconcement with it’s head. The serpent supports a soft, sunset-toned glass shade. The snake is made particularly lifelike with low-relief scales, and with a realistic, hissing head. It appears as if the serpent would strike if not for the fact that it is made of bronze.

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  • Product Details
  • Curator's Notes

Item #: EL-21344
Artist: Edgar Brandt
Country: France
Circa: 1920-1926
Dimensions: 36" height, 13" width.
Signed: Shade signed: “Daum Nancy” with the Cross of Lorraine. Base stamped: “E. Brandt”
Literature: A similar lamp is pictured in: Edgar Brandt: Master of Art Deco Ironwork, by Joan Kahr, New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1999, p. 156, plate 166.

The “La Tentation” lamp was among Brandt’s most successful models because the elegant form of the serpent was seen as dually beautiful and menacing. Brandt’s interpretation of the snake for this piece is uncanny in that it is both remarkably lifelike, but in a fantastical position: fully erect, holding up a glass lamp shade while also spitting venom, the snake makes this truly a great work of art. “La Tentation” combines realism and surrealism in a way that hints at the human desire to tame that which is frightening in the natural world. Rendered in a decorative lamp, the Python can be owned and used, and appreciated as a trophy of man’s ability to order the wild.