Of Modernist design, the rectangular-shaped silver box embellished with a geometric motif in black and red lacquer accented with an egg shell section, the reverse applied with black enamel, opening to reveal a compartment for matches, circa 1925, signed Gérard Sandoz, French assay marks for silver. Dimensions 0.5 x 6.2 x 5.5cm. Weight: 52.7 grams
This box is perfectly emblematic of Gérard Sandoz's artistic expression. A devout Modernist, his innovative inventory of geometric forms were often executed in red and black (and often with egg shell accents), and applied to both abstract and more figurative scenes on smoking accessories and jewels. Far from solely practical, these artworks remain some of the most instantly recognisable and iconic objects created by a Modernist artist in this period.
The bold combination of black and red was the perfect pallet for a iconoclastic spirit, and perhaps never better demonstrated than with the red and black marble facade of the Sandoz boutique, commissioned from interior designer René Crevel. This shop front served as a Modernist manifesto amidst the Louis XV traditions of rue Royale.
This particular match box is a more diminutive manifestation but held in the hand it is such a powerfully transportive piece, the black residue from the burning matches somehow bringing it to life, a pocket-sized poster for both movement and man. In fact, Gérard Sandoz chose it to represent his work in at least two publications.
L'Illustration, Paris 1927, illustrated as part of a Henri Clouzot article on Modern French Jewellery. Extract included in images section above. Mobilier et Decoration, Paris 1926, black and white photo of this match box illustrated as part of an article on Gérard Sandoz. Extract included in images section above.