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    Description

    André Helle. "L'Arche de Noé" (Noah's Ark). [Paris: Grands magasins du Printemps, 1911]. Hand-painted wooden ark and twenty-three figures. Ark measures approximately 20 x 9.5 x 6.5 inches; 508 x 241 x 165 mm. Figures range in size. Some wear and staining, some paint a bit chipped and mildly rubbed, roof of the ark with pen marks seemingly added by a child. Altogether, a very good example of this simply lovely and timeless set of children's toys.

    One of the very first artist's toys, and the probably the first one in modernist aesthetics (before those of the Wiener Werkstatte, the Bauhaus, etc.), which is still equally modern and charming after one century. Cubist aesthetic was here put in the reach of children, in particular with the avant-gardist geometric character of Noah.

    It was published simultaneously with Hellé's book 'L'Arche de Noé (Drôles de bêtes)'. It could be considered as an early example of derivative products, but is rather two expressions of the same topic, one on paper, the other in volume. This toy was presented as a piece of art in the Salon d'Automne in 1911, and later exhibited in the States ('French toys' in 1915 and 1918). A second and different version was realized in 1922 and exhibited in the 1925 exhibition of decorative arts.

    Very rare - only a handful of remaining copies are known (one in the US: Art Institute of Chicago, with only five animals). The complete version includes somewhere between eighteen and twenty-four animals (this copy contains twenty-two), the smallest parts (such as the dog) may differ from one copy to another.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    December, 2020
    16th Wednesday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 8
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 315

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