Garden Museum

Garden Museum Collection of Art Nouveau Masterpieces

This sale comprises 130 lots of Art Nouveau masterpieces by Emile Galle, Louis Majorelle and Rene Lalique formerly in the Garden Museum, Nagoya, Japan.

Quoting from the Sotheby’s press release for this sale:

This exceptional collection was assembled by Takeo Horiuchi, a real estate magnate and prominent collector with a passionate interest in the Japanese influence on Western art around 1900. Horiuchi teamed up with the decorative arts specialist Alastair Duncan to track down magnificent works and build up the world’s most important Art Nouveau collection: The Louis C. Tiffany Garden Museum Collection.

The museum was popular for many years but, following the tsunami and Fukushima catastrophe in 2011, Takeo Horiuchi decided to sell his collection to an American amateur who, in turn, has asked Sotheby’s France to offer the French and European items at auction.

The collection offers precious evidence of late 19th century European enthusiasm for Japonisme, a faraway source of renewed Nature-based inspiration for European decorative arts that also offered innovative techniques and formal solutions. The presence of several Art Deco items in the collection reflects the fact that this Asian influence continued into the 1920s.

The collection reflects the versatility of several major early 20th century French artists, like Louis Majorelle, whose sinuous furniture was especially suited to plant and leaf motifs; the cultured Emile Galle, the movement’s undisputed frontrunner, who imbued objects with a spiritual meaning and sometimes adding contemporary poetry as a decorative features; and Rene Lalique whose jewelry marked a total break with the decorative repertoire of the time.

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