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The Metropolitan Museum of Art has never been timid in its collection work, and it has done so again.
It has two extraordinary designs, a bathroom sink and an elevator cab.
So far, most museums and collectors have despised these works in pursuit of the important Art Deco in the 20 th century.
They will no longer have a chance.
Both are the main statements.
The sink is a choppy Louis Mallor design, a tour of French furniture manufacturers that combines novel Art Nouveau aesthetics with functional plumbing.
From the asymmetrical mirror at the top to the legs like trunk, the washbasin embodies many of the best features of the organic century style.
The Baroque style dramatized the façade in terms of framing, carving of a pair of shelves, and carving of the bottom corners and panels.
Mahogany and Ebony
Very skilled at work.
Gilt-bronze, decorated with a leaf-like hardware, is like a fine jewelry made with elegant costumes.
Why is all the attention focused on the sink in the bathroom?
Apparently, according to Penelope Hunter Stebel, assistant curator of sculpture and decorative arts in Europe, Mallor felt challenged by home innovation at the time --plumbing.
His client, Eugene Corbyn, is a patron of Nancy craftsman who works in Mallorca, and he certainly encourages him.
So the cabinetmaker was very imaginative in solving the problem of building the sink in a high profile, as if it were part of the bedroom. He succeeded.
If his strict treatment of this style of sculpture proves far less gorgeous than the design of the Paris whip-shaped wizard Hector gemade, the result may prove more acceptable.
She called Mallorca "the greatest taxi manufacturer in France at the turn of the century ".
One reason the sink is so exciting, explains Hunter Stebel, is that, in her view, Majorelle "turned the washbasin into an immortal statement of the new art style.
"Some fans of this style may not go that far.
But most people will agree with it.
The sink appeared at an auction outside Paris, purchased for the museum by Sidney and Francis Lewis Foundation
Because it represents the first major example of the museum's acquisition of new art furniture.
Advertising elevator cab is a smooth wooden, metal ribbon box in the American 1930s interpretation of decorative art style, some people call it art modern.
Its collection represents another number one in the museum, and may point the way for other institutions and collectors interested in preserving these 20th-century fine artifacts.
The way it happened, Mrs. recalled.
Hunter Stebel was told in last September that the elevators at the Rockefeller Center International building had been eliminated.
High speed, automatic design is about to replace them.
She acted quickly.
After visiting the building, she obtained permission from the museum and then asked for help to dismantle and rebuild one of the elevators.
These industrial monuments are not only excellent examples of this style, but also reflect several of the first in the design of the elevator, including overhead vents, electric eyes and external "lighting" lights.
Special funding is required once approved.
In this case, Angel is Rockefeller Center.
And Westinghouse Electric, they helped in two ways: the elevator department removed the cab and the company approved the installation at the museum.
Another problem with this half-ton car is looking for someone to patch the interior, with a height of 6 by 7 by 8 feet.
It turns out that the task was done by a piano modifier.
While elevators are unlikely to operate, a major design in the metropolitan area may have a significant impact on the country's new art furniture market.
Lily Nassau, a pioneer dealer (
220 East 57 Street)
In this style, the popularity of Mallorca and other new art furniture is a recent phenomenon.
"It has only taken off in the last four or five years," she said . ".
"The first Majorelle design I bought was a table I bought in 1962 for $200.
I'm hesitant about the price.
Too high, I think.
Today, it's easy for this table to bring $3,500.
No one bought such furniture at that time.
One of the earliest collectors was Walter Chrysler.
"The Mallor sink is a popular tourist destination in France.
Lloyd McLough of the McLean Gallery, 982 Madison Avenue (at 77th Street)
Probably more than any other US dealer.
He recalled that he began buying the furniture in 1967, "because it's so cheap --
I know it will eventually become popular.
That's true, he reported.
The table he could have bought for $250 to $500 has risen to $2,500 five years ago.
Today, he said, they earn as much as $5,000.
"There are materials to choose from.
Yes, it's a little difficult to find it.
He commented: "If there is no other reason for Mallor other than to make a lot of furniture, he thinks there will be no shortage in the near future," the French never throw away anything, so it's the place to wait for the re-auction. They also offer Majorelle furniture more often and have been increasingly successful recently.
On May 24, Park Avenue Christie, Manson & Woods on 59 th Street will launch 13 Majorelle designs, ranging in value from about $1,000 for a small table to about $25,000 for mahogany cabinets inlaid with walnuts.
Another option is a sideboard with open shelves, which can cost up to $14,000.
Sotheby's Parker Bennett will launch an 8-bedroom suite in June 19 as a separate item under the hammer.
The eight lots in the pre-sale are estimated to range from $3,000 for a chair to $40,000 for an armorevitrine.
■ A version of this file was printed on page D30 of The New York edition on May 13, 1979 with the title: antique.