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The Salon–Dining Room of Lord Rothermere


Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann (decorator)
Louis Pierre Rigal (sculptor)

By the time it was consecrated at the World Fair’s of 1900, Art Nouveau was already beginning to wane. As a reaction, the association of artists and decorators founded in 1901 set about organising an avant-garde exhibition to promote the modern style. Not held until 1925 due to World War I, this event marked the official birth of the term "Art Deco", the name of a movement developed in 1910 but only just at its peak. Hailed as the genius of Art Deco, Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann really became known at this international exhibition of the modern decorative and industrial arts of Paris. Invited to design his own pavilion, Ruhlmann joined forces with the architect Pierre Patout and well known artists to present a wealthy, elegant and ideal collector’s home. The sophisticated modernism displayed, also in the use of precious materials, exemplifies the excellence of “French taste” as opposed to the purism and austerity of Le Corbusier in his ascetic and radical Pavilion of the New Spirit.

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This “residence for a rich collector” was a great success and led to a stream of commissions, not only from public institutions such as the Palais de l’Elysée, the Union central des arts décoratifs and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, but also from private individuals. These rich industrialists and art lovers included the British press magnate Lord Rothermere (owner of the "Daily Mail" and "Daily Mirror"), who wished to furnish and decorate his apartment on the Champs-Élysées.

A decorator and interior designer, Ruhlmann conceived the combined sitting and dining room as a total work of art exemplifying the elegance and modernity of his style, where each detail of the woodwork, sculpture, metalwork, lighting and furniture has its own importance. The play of light from the windows, the bow window and the light fittings sets off the elements of Indian rosewood, whose dark colour is enlivened by the veins and ten metopes sculpted by Louis Pierre Rigal on the upper frieze. From the door handles to the hinge covers of silver- and chrome-plated bronze, the moldings of the cornices and the borders of the door panels, everything contributes to the luxurious harmony of the room.

Artwork Details

Artist: Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann (decorator) end Louis Pierre Rigal (sculptor)

Title: The Salon–Dining Room of Lord Rothermere
Geography: Paris, France
Date: 1925

Medium: wood, mirrors, fittings

Classification: architectural element
Dimensions: 357.5 x 622.2 x 1061.5 cm
Inventory number: LAD 2012.114
Contact for images: [email protected]


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