Luxury Design, Past & Present
This important vintage French Art Deco period palisander buffet circa 1930, designed by the famed Jules Leleu, also incorporates gilded iron work in the style of master Gilbert Poillerat, Toulouse. The spectacular form is classic Leleu with the cabinetry expertly fitted and balanced and raised upon a platform base. The extraordinary quality of the palisander timber (a member of the rosewood family) is seen in the horizontal manner of the grain which wraps the entire façade from the left side, across the entire front and continues around the right side. Please notice how the upper and lower edges of the main cabinet flare outward with the palisander grain running vertically to contrast with the side by side movement of the grain in the main section. In addition the palisander has been hand cut to create an interlocking basketweave pattern on the top of the vintage buffet that covers the entire raised section. There are five doors in this Leleu sideboard. In the center the door features a scene of a pair of mermaids at sea created from various inlay including abalone shell or mother-of-pearl notable for its subtle reflective quality. The entire scene with the shells and starfish and aquatic plants has been entirely inlaid by hand with amazing dexterity and craftsmanship. The center door opens with a key to reveal a series of stacked drawers constructed of maple chosen for the contrast in color to the lustrous palisander. Even the inside of the cabinet door is sheathed in this lighter color wood. On the left and right sides flanking the centre door are a pair of cabinet doors that fully open to reveal spacious storage and here again the inside of the cabinet doors are lined with lighter color timber. Extending across the entire front in a continuous line that is both above and below the center scene is a slender ribbon of inlaid brass that remains highly reflective. The vintage French sideboard stands upon a solid plinth base and is connected to the upper section by a pair of grand forged iron supports directly taken from the designs of Gilbert Poillerat. Poillerat became famous in the early twentieth century for his amazing interpretations of iron work created during the reigns of Louis Xv and XVI. His subtle transformations of proportion and scale created an entirely distinctive visual vocabulary making his work identifiable. The contrast of the black iron highlighted with gilding against the glow of the palisander is quite striking. The visual splendor of this antique French buffet is remarkable and will continue to be a center piece wherever it is placed in an interior be it living room to bedroom.