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Gyula (Jules) Tornai: An Exceptional Art Deco Cabinet with Figural Decor

Gyula (Jules) Tornai (Görgö 1861 - Budapest 1928), attributed

An Exceptional Art Deco Cabinet with Figural Decor

Lot-No. 693 | Proceeds: 32.800,00 €

Budapest, probably designed by Gyula (Jules) Tornai, executed by Jakab Hajt, c. 1910/20. Mahogany, veneered and marquetry of various precious woods. Rectangular cabinet on four hippopotamus feet, 2-door base cabinet with picturesque landscape motifs, above it a writing flap on a pull-out central support with a carved face, the flap with a powerfully carved figural relief (scene from Verdi's Aida?, the Ethiopian slave Aida playing a harp with her companions before the pharaoh and Radamès?), inside a central compartment flanked by three drawers each, above a two-door wall unit, outside with inlaid palm tree motifs, inside with a central compartment flanked by four drawers each, upper finish of surrounding lotus leaf relief. Three original keys, on the inner side of the right door of the upper cupboard an original manufacturer's plate 'HAJTS JAKAB Muasztalos és faszobrás BUDAPEST VII Hársfa-u.3'. Slight traces of use. H. 166 cm, w. 126 cm, d. 66 cm. - Provenance: Privatbesitz Nordrhein-Westfalen. - One of the most famous painters of Hungarian Orientalism, his extraordinary talent as a furniture designer is only proven by a few preserved works. Tornai received his education at the academies in Vienna and Munich and after a stay in Florence in 1904 he went on a world tour, mainly in India and Japan. - As a furniture designer he is known to only a few, the interplay of picturesque inlaid motifs and spectacularly carved elements is unique in European and Hungarian furniture art. Tornai worked closely with Jakab Hajts, the best Hungarian cabinetmaker and wood sculptor of his time. Mus.: Budapest, Museum for Applied Arts (Art Deco six-part salon set). Lit.: Thieme/Becker; Bénézit.

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