Music stand

Alexandre Louis Marie Charpentier (1856-1909)
Paris, 1901
Waxed hornbeam
122 x 44 cm
Purchase, 1906
Inv. 13064 B

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This music stand is part of a set comprising an armoire for string quartet instruments and two identical stands, presented by the artist at the Salon of the Société Nationale des Beaux-Arts in 1901. The base of this small stand unfolds in a flowing upward movement, becoming so slender at the top, where it joins the stand, that it creates an impression of fragility. The stand can swivel, giving the piece two different possible shapes. Like the Belgian architect Victor Horta, French Art Nouveau artists drew inspiration from plant stems rather than flowers to construct the overall lines of their furniture. The wood carver’s skill gave the inert material strength and tension, so that sap still seems to flow through it. The sculptor and medallist Alexandre Charpentier, one of the finest representatives of Art Nouveau in Paris, was very active in the decorative arts between 1890 and 1902 in the fields of decorative sculpture, furniture, ornamental ironwork and objects in pewter, ceramic and leather. He created and contributed to many interior decorations, such as (in 1901) that of the dining room in the Villa de Champrosay (Musée d’Orsay) for Adrien Bénard, president of the Société du Métropolitain who commissioned the entrances of the Paris metro from the architect Hector Guimard.

É. P.

Rosella Froissart Pezzone, L’Art dans tout. Les arts décoratifs en France et l’utopie d’un art nouveau, Paris, CNRS Éditions, 2004.

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