The Les Cagnas lacquer screen is the Calouste Gulbenkian Museum’s fourth visiting artwork. Brought from the Musée des arts décoratifs de Paris, it establishes a dialogue with the Roe Deer screen belonging to the Gulbenkian Collection, both screens being in lacquer and signed by Jean Dunand.
Jean Dunand (1877-1942) was one of the most renowned artists of the Art Deco style, as well as one of the first western artists to excel in the technique of oriental lacquer work.
Born in Lancy, Switzerland, he was a truly multidisciplinary artist. A decorator, sculptor and cabinet maker, throughout his career, he fully explored the physical as well as aesthetic and decorative relationship between lacquer and different metals, in particular copper, silver and gold.
The catalogue that accompanies this exhibition, in Portuguese and English, is the work of Rui Xavier, the curator of the exhibition. In it, he contextualises the relationship between the two lacquer works by examining the artist’s personal and professional career. The intention underlying this encounter was to highlight the different oriental lacquer techniques, in this case interpreted by an outstanding Western artist, and to do so by means of this piece, the Les Cagnas screen and other pieces from the Gulbenkian Collection. Several archive documents are reproduced that testify to the artist’s relationship with Calouste Gulbenkian and tell the story of the acquisition of the Roe Deer screen.
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