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18 janvier 2012

Gold, tortoiseshell, opal and enamel hair comb, Georges Fouquet, France, circa 1905-1908

 Fouquet_2

Gold, tortoiseshell, opal and enamel hair comb, Georges Fouquet, France, circa 1905-1908 Photo Sotheby's

The carved tortoiseshell comb of ancient Egyptian inspiration with lotus and papyrus motifs, set with opal cabochons, accented by black and green enamel, signed G. Fouquet, numbered 4680. With signed box. ESTIMATE 10,000-15,000 USD

NOTE: A similar hair comb illustrated in Art Nouveau Jewelry, by Vivienne Becker, p. 93, image 91.

Egypt's influence on the West goes back as far as ancient Roman times. Although this influence never disappeared completely, it rose to a peak after certain historical events such as Napoleon's campaign in Egypt at the end of the 18th century and the opening of the Suez Canal in 1869. Events such as these allowed for a deeper, often first hand knowledge of Egyptian culture and mythology and a wider availability of design sources both direct and indirect. Art Nouveau artists were not immune to the lure of ancient Egypt as the two jewels by Georges Fouquet offered here can attest. Lotus blossoms and papyrus are more than mere embellishments, their curved forms are integral parts of the design. The predominantly turquoise and green color palette echoes the hues often found in Egyptian faience, scarabs and beads. The overall symmetry of the brooch and comb (lot 256-257) anticipate the Art Deco movement that was eventually to overtake the Art Nouveau style.

Sotheby's. Important Jewels, New York | 09 Feb 2012 www.sothebys.com

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