Growing up in France I was exposed to multicultural influences and was especially attracted from an early age to art and decorative arts from Asia. It was exotic and dreamy which suited my mood.
Lacquered furniture and eggshell lacquer became very important in French interiors with Jean Dunand (1877–1942). He was a lacquer, sculptor, dinandier (copper manufacturer) and interior designer and is considered the greatest lacquer artist of the Art Deco period. In 1912 he began working with Seizo Sugawara, a Japanese lacquer master who had recently emigrated to France and initiated him to his art. There was a great revival of eggshell lacquer at that period thanks to him and other French designers who used that technique.
Here is a screen in lacquered eggshell by Jean Dunand circa 1925. It realized $134,500 at Christies New York in December 09
and a coffee table in Red China lacquer and eggshell top circa 1925 that realized $118,000 in a 2008 Christies London sale:
Although lacquer has existed for thousands of years, it has never been possible to create natural white lacquer. To create it the use of duck eggshell was adopted by lacquerists in China Japan and Vietnam.
The eggshell is cleaned and then broken in small pieces and used in patterns similar to the ‘craquelé’ effect in porcelain. After it is applied on fresh lacquer the eggshell is left to dry in the sun for seven days. After that it is sanded and seven to twelve coats of lacquer are necessary to obtain a smooth surface.
Between each coat of lacquer there is a drying period in the sun and then water sanding .
In addition to the very time consuming work of applying the eggshell and the various coats of lacquer weeks are necessary for the drying and stabilizing of the lacquer.
I fell in love with the work of Jean Dunand and found myself talking about it with a childhood friend of mine who moved to Vietnam. He is a furniture designer and had started working with a Vietnamese lacquer master so I asked him to make a special edition of the Dunand table and other pieces based on designs by Eileen Gray and Jean Michel Frank for Valerie Goodman Gallery. The work is made by a master of lacquer and overseen by someone familiar with the real Dunand pieces.
The quality is very high and we can offer very competitive prices, we can produce the pieces to suit the dimensions needed for a particular project