The façade of this exceptional piece contains nine drawers equipped with movable caissons each embossed with black numerals. It rests on four elegant feet with gild bronze legs.
Mrs. Helen Resor née Lansdowne was the advertising industry’s first female creative director working in the biggest New York ad agency of her day, J. Walter Thompson, presided by her husband Stanley B. Resor. One of the pioneers of American advertising industry in the 1920’s, she played an important role in careers of Elizabeth Arden, Coco Chanel and Helena Rubinstein. It is likely that Jean-Michel Frank was introduced to Mrs. Resor by Ms. Rubenstein and in 1935 was commissioned to redecorate her Connecticut mansion. A total of around twenty exceptional pieces of furniture were executed in France for this project, most of which are sadly destroyed today. These included lighting by Alberto Giacometti in plaster and bronze and Jean-Michel Frank designed oak and leather desks, armchairs and dining table, along with blond straw marquetry cabinet and of course our Hermès leather dresser done in 1935.
Frank conceived this iconic piece in 1931 for his personal use as could be seen from a photograph of his studio taken that same year by François Kollar. All of his aesthetic is beautifully summed up in this precious work – the graceful lines reminiscent of 18th century and choice of luxurious Hermès leather. Art critic Josette Devin made the right selection when she illustrated this very dresser in her article dedicated to rediscovery of Frank’s genius. Today we only know of three dressers of this model ever being made. One for the decorator himself, one for his sister Alice Frank, which did not retain its original leather and ours from the collection of Mr. and Mrs.Resor which still has the Hermès leather intact.
Sotheby’s Paris, November 25, 2014
Mr. and Mrs.Stanley B. Resor, Greenwich, Connecticut, USA 1935.
Formes d’Aujourd’hui, organized by Waldemar George, 1936
Art et Industrie, 1936,
Josette Devin, Jean Michel Frank, un créateur oublié L’œil, n°101, May 1963, p.51.
Léopold Diego Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank/Adolphe Chanaux, Ed. Du Regard, Paris 1997, p.174-175 and 186-187.
François Baudot, JM Frank, Ed. Assouline, Paris, 1998, p.70-71
Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: Un décorateur dans le Paris des années 30, Ed. Norma 2009, p.71