Star-gazer Box - Art by Alfred Daguet
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Alfred Daguet
Star-gazer Box

c. 1906

About

Inspired by the growing awareness and excitement among the Parisian populace about the solar system, Daguet takes his signature artistic interpretation of Art Nouveau to new heights. He demonstrates the relevancy of the cosmos as subject matter in this nature-driven style, applying arabesques, elastic and elliptical forms to suggest movement. Shooting stars have awed and fascinated people since antiquity. The dawning of a new century marked the introduction of many inventions at Paris’ Exposition Universelle, including the diesel engine and talking films; however, one attraction in particular launched a fascination for space which crossed the lines between art, industry, science and popular culture. Debuting next to the Eiffel Tower as the largest refracting telescope ever constructed, the Great Exposition Refractor was the show’s centerpiece. It allowed for the observation of sunspots and nebulae. Photographs of the moon’s surface taken by Charles Le Morvan with the aid of the enormous telescopic lens appeared on the cover of Strand Magazine in November, 1900. Francois Deloncle, who conceived the great telescope and inspired the collaboration of several french industries to manufacture it, wanted to “bring the celestial bodies almost to our doors.” Indeed, within just a few years of the Exposition, Georges Melies captivated the public with his cinematic adventures, A Trip to the Moon (1902) and The Impossible Voyage (1904). In 1905, the Giacobini and Borrelly comets appeared in the Paris skies. The cover of the September 2, 1905 issue of Le Monde Illustre featured a photo taken at the Paris Observatoire of a solar eclipse. Stuff of the imagination could finally be seen, not just for the lucky few with the naked eye, but by the masses for posterity. Daguet, with a keen sense for art and commerce, created a one-of-a kind object with mass appeal. In varying colors of opaline white, luminescent green and hot pink, the glass orbs in cabochon settings act as the brightly lit comet’s nucleus. Springing from these nuclei are glowing tails which streak through space reflecting the sun’s light. The comets’ trajectories arc in Art Nouveau arabesques and wind around Daguet’s micro-universe of hammered brass. His mottled surface creates a convincing starry backdrop like the tiny pinpricks of light which dot the night sky. Darting across all of this are depictions of the comet nucleus in perfect succession to convey the speed in which these astral bodies move through space. Daguet’s box is nothing short of a functional work of art for the modern well-healed consumer. In Daguet’s artful approach, the mysteries of space, largely confined to the night, are captured and made accessible to behold.

Details

  • Movement & Style
  • Condition
    Good
  • Condition Details
    Wear commensurable with age. Interior fabric replaced.
  • Dimensions
    H 7 in. x W 7 in. x D 3.5 in.H 17.78 cm x W 17.78 cm x D 8.89 cm
  • Gallery Location
    Chicago, IL
  • Reference Number
    LU46731717553
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About the Seller

5 / 5
Vetted
1stdibs seller since 2016
Located in Chicago, IL
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