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Very Fine and Important Pair Of French Art Deco Cabinets By Jules Leleu #3032

A Very Fine and Important Pair of Art Deco Commodes Firmly Attributed to Jules Leleu

French Circa 1940

These magnificent pieces are veneered throughout in walnut, laid in an extended parquetry pattern across the doors. The cabinets themselves are of inverted breakfront form with the central doors slightly recessed compared to the doors to either side. The side doors are of a complex undulating form which would have been very difficult to create, and particularly difficult to veneer. 

These pieces were originally intended as dressing commodes and, as such, have mirrors behind the central doors. The mirrors act as cheval mirrors, meaning that one can stand in the middle of the three surfaces and see an outfit "in the round", very useful for the wealthy Art Deco lady putting together her latest showstopping outfit. The central mirror can then be opened to reveal a series of shelves and small drawers behind. The side doors conceal additional shelves, meaning that these pieces offer an abundance of storage options.

The commodes have typical Leleu overhanging form, the body of the pieces sat on shorter bases. Another Leleu feature that tends to appear on such pieces is a central mount to draw the eye, the master has chosen to use an interesting ormolu mount of a female bacchante and a faun which also functions as the escutcheon for the central section. Perhaps the bacchic subject was chosen because the lucky people who commissioned these pieces would essentially have been using them to dress to entertain, and Bacchus was associated with the concept of entertainment and revelry.

Although these pieces are not signed we have no doubt as to their authorship, based on numerous other pieces by Leleu that we have handled in the past. Furniture by the master is always sought after and pairs of cabinets, as opposed to singles, are almost never encountered, making these real collectors' pieces and of great interest to connoisseurs and decorators alike.

Jules Leleu

Jules Leleu who was of the one key figures in the Art Deco movement. His family firm of Maison Leleu had existed since the eighteenth-century and he helped to guide it through much of the twentieth century with his gallery at 65 Avenue Franklin Roosevelt in Paris in the very centre of the fashionable retail centre of the city.

Leleu exhibited at the prestigious 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs, winning a Grand Prize there and one of his pieces was purchased by the Metropolitan Museum in New York (Acc.No. 46.93). He was also an active participant in the annual Salon DíAutomne and Salon des Artistes DÈcorateurs.

Leleu was a prolific ensemblier, with a large number of private and public clients including the French ocean liners, Ile-de-France, Atlantique, Normandie and France. Amongst other important commissions were a dining room for the …lysÈe Palace, and the Grand Salon des Ambassadeurs at La SocietÈ des Nations in Geneva, named the Salon Leleu, which is still in existence today. His pieces are highly prized and can be seen at the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the MusÈe les Arts DÈcoratifs, and Collection Mobilier National in Paris which holds over one hundred of his pieces.

Leleu is celebrated for his conception of refined antique furniture forms and precision craftsmanship. His furniture is generally spare and sleek. He made significant use of opulent materials that were a keynote of haute Art Deco design and favoured the use of woods with warm tones, such as amboyna, Macassar ebony, and as on this piece, walnut, all of which imparted richness and elegance. He had his own distinctive and sophisticated style, often sober and reflective of traditional French furniture design, but also modern in line and use of materials, and always in excellent taste. 

At one time The New York Times wrote, “he was just as successful and probably more prolific than his better-known contemporaries.”

These beautiful haute Art Deco piece would make a stunning statement piece in any contemporary home.


V.JUTHEAU ëJules & Andrew Leleuí (Olbia, 2000)


The highlight of Jules Leleu sales has to be the Grande Commode, constructed in shagreen, mahogany and gilt bronze which realised 198,750 Euros at Sothebyís Paris, 24 November 2010.


Width 82 1/2 inches - 210cm

Height 65 3/4 inches - 167cm

Depth 19 1/2 inches - 49cm 

Width: 82 1/2 inches - 210cm
Height: 65 3/4 inches - 167cm
Depth: 19 1/2 inches - 49cm

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