Black, Starr & Frost. A very fine Art Deco Chinoiserie 18K enameled gold, cabochon tourmaline, and carved hardstone boudoir timepiece1930's
Lot 33
Black, Starr & Frost. A very fine Art Deco Chinoiserie 18K enameled gold, cabochon tourmaline, and carved hardstone boudoir timepiece
1930's
Sold for US$ 110,000 inc. premium

The Art of Time

4 Dec 2017, 10:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
Black, Starr & Frost. A very fine Art Deco Chinoiserie 18K enameled gold, cabochon tourmaline, and carved hardstone boudoir timepiece1930's Black, Starr & Frost. A very fine Art Deco Chinoiserie 18K enameled gold, cabochon tourmaline, and carved hardstone boudoir timepiece1930's
Black, Starr & Frost. A very fine Art Deco Chinoiserie 18K enameled gold, cabochon tourmaline, and carved hardstone boudoir timepiece
Date: 1930's
Movement: 13-jewel with lever escapement, wound and set by separate key mounted inside the case back, signed E. Mathey-Tissot & Co.
Dial: rectangular champlevé enamel panel with fanciful Chinese landscape, applied Chinese numerals, pierced arrow hands
Case: On pierced bracket feet, bezel set with cabochon tourmaline, side panels champlevé enameled with flowering branches, surmounted by a carved hardstone elephant
Size: 9.5 cm (3 ¾ in) high, 4.8 cm (1 7/8 in) wide

Footnotes

  • William Black and Henry Ball, formed Ball, Black & Co. in 1851, succeeding a New York jewelry firm founded in 1810 by Isaac Marquand. They were among the most highly regarded jewelers and silversmiths of mid-19th century America. They joined with Cortlandt Starr and Aaron Frost in 1876 to form the preeminent jewelry firm of Black, Starr & Frost. In 1929, Black, Starr & Frost merged with Gorham Corporation and was renamed Black, Starr, Frost-Gorham.

    For a brief period in the 1920's and 1930's the utilitarian table clock was transformed into a stunning work of art fashioned from precious metals and gem stones. Echoing the taste for the stylish jewelry of the period, they are of superb quality. Black Starr and Frost created a small number of these Art Deco table clocks. Among these are several published examples which were exhibited at the New York World's Fair of 1939. Unfortunately, the maker of these masterpieces remains a mystery.

    The World's Fair clocks bear the French lozenge maker's mark for Pierre Gravoin who is otherwise unknown. It has been suggested that he may have been a workman in the atelier of Maurice Couet who produced clocks for Cartier.

    The two clocks offered as Lots 33 and 35 are apparently unmarked save for the retailer's signature and a serial number. They do not appear to bear the French control mark for gold, being marked simply, 18K. There is no doubt that the design and workmanship of these clocks are on a par with examples with Gravoin's maker's mark. However, they are distinguished by the use of champlevé enamel rather than the mother-of-pearl on their cases and dials.
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