Mayfair is fast becoming London’s latest art and design hotspot: last year, adding to such gems as jewellery and art trove Belmacz and Marlborough Fine Art, the auctioneer Phillips moved into a stunning new Berkeley Square building and Paris-based contemporary specialist Galerie Kreo opened an intimate space in Hay Hill, while PAD, the fair devoted to 20th-century creations,holds its annual London show in Berkeley Square.
Now, Paris-based Galerie Dutko is opening its first London gallery – on Davies Street, just off Berkeley Square – with a selling exhibition (Thursday October 8 to Friday December 4), offering some of the best examples of art deco in tandem with specially commissioned contemporary work (£115,000-£850,000) – as well as exhibiting at PAD London from October 14 to 18.
Founder Jean-Jacques Dutko, a leading art-deco authority, is superbly skilled in sourcing exceptional pieces. “The prospect of sharing some of the rarest findings from the period with collectors in London is an exciting one,” he says. And this show certainly has all the commitment to the style for which his two Parisian galleries are renowned: an ebony and bronze desk covered in python skin (fourth picture), dating from 1925-1930, was personally used by its designer, Marcel Coard, while a 1930 oak coffee table with a travertine and brass top by Paul Dupré-Lafon perfectly demonstrates art deco’s stylish practicality. Further highlights include Hans Wegner’s 1949 oak Crocodile chest (third picture), with wooden doors crafted to resemble crocodile skin, while a wool rug with intersecting bands of colour by Ivan da Silva-Bruhns, from 1925, sets off the furniture on display.
Dutko has long championed the work of Eugène Printz, who at one point was Jeanne Lanvin’s personal interior designer. A number of significant Printz pieces from around 1930 include a signed monogrammed desk in palmwood, sycamore and brass; a rosewood side table with an oxidised brass top and base (second picture); a mahogany drop-front bar; and a six-door sycamore sideboard with a copper frame (second picture). An elegant Printz floor lamp from 1937 (second picture), its ebony-veneered shaft decorated with five oxidised brass rings, has an inverted bell-shaped shade with a reflective white lacquered interior.
What differentiates Dutko from other 20th-century specialists is his talent for displaying contemporary pieces that complement his art-deco gems. “This type of counterpoint defines our signature and is omnipresent in our exhibitions,” he says. It’s easy to see how the curved, organic forms created by the innovative French artist-designer Eric Schmitt take inspiration from French art-deco traditions. Made at his Fontainebleau studio in luxe materials such as alabaster, marble and bronze, these sculptural designs include the Leaf Double console with teardrop-shaped legs, and the Standing Stone lamp, with a white alabaster base offset by flared, polished brass.
Anyone thinking of weaving alluring authentic art deco into an interior or introducing bold new contemporary design will be well served by this fine addition to London’s creative scene.