Do we have Georges Braque to thank for design’s ongoing love affair with faux bois? Take a look at his 1912 seminal papier-collé Fruit Dish and Glass (Compotier et Verre), which was recently gifted to the Metropolitan Museum of Art by famed art collector Ronald Lauder. When Braque decided to paste pieces of mechanically printed faux bois wallpaper on to his still-life drawing, he elevated a traditional decorative trope to the level of fine art and revolutionized art making.
Once faux bois entered the modernist lexicon, it became an essential design element in textiles, garden furniture, ceramics, and more. The best of these efforts merge wood-grain patterning with the wit and intelligence of twentieth-century art. In Townhouse.bz’s collection, there are several fine examples of Grandjean-Jourdan’s faux bois tableware. This father and son team of post-WWII regional artists created their hand-painted pottery in the famed town of Vallauris—the same area where Braque’s friend and sometimes rival Pablo Picasso produced his own prodigious output of painted ceramics. Clearly, Grandjean-Jourdan drew inspiration from the biomorphic explorations of Jean Arp and Constantin Brâncuși.
These side tables attributed to the legendary San Francisco designer John Dickinson verge into the realm of surrealism. The tables are actually made of wood that has been carved in a stylized manner to imitate the imitators! A visual double entendre that we think George Braque and his contemporaries would have loved.