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Paul Follot

Piano and Stool


Paul Follot
Paris 1877 – Sainte-Maxime, France, 1941


Piano and Stool


About 1908


Satinwood and ivory marquetry, inlaid of various woods, gilded bronze, brass, velvet


98.2 x 142 x 162 cm (piano), 57.7 x 46.5 x 46.5 cm (stool)


Executed by Dumontier (cabinetry) and Pleyel, Wolff, Lyon et cie (action)


Gift of Raymonde Marchand, in memory of her father, J. Omer Marchand, architect, the Montreal Museum of Decorative Arts and an anonymous donor, inv. 1992.Df.9a-b


Decorative Arts and Design

This piano and stool, initially shown at the 1908 Paris Salon of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs, was designed by Follot. He was one of the pre-eminent designers working in France in the early decades of this century. Through exhibitions, salons and publications, the Société helped to re-establish France's leading role as a purveyor of handcrafted luxury goods and furnishings. Throughout his career, Follot steadfastly refused to be drawn into the camp of designers and architects (such as Le Corbusier) who insisted on accommodating the possibilities of machine production in order to produce objects for a mass market. The Art nouveau design elements of the piano are treated in an attenuated geometric manner, reflecting significant new design influences then coming from Germany, Austria and Scotland. The piano is executed in exotic wood veneers and is mounted in gilt bronze, recalling the great luxury cabinetmaking traditions of eighteenth-century France. While other contemporary French designers like Majorelle (1859-1929) used similar techniques in their more curvilinear interpretations of the Art nouveau idiom, Follot never completely repressed an underlying classical architectonic sense of order in his Art nouveau creations. The same classically based approach to design was to influence Follot's later works in the more rectilinear Art Deco style. This piano marks an early transitional stage between these two styles.

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