Hermès Presents Jean-Michel Frank
Simple lines and exotic veneers epitomize the furniture of French legendary designer Jean Michel-Frank. His original pieces are hard to come by so it's good news that Hermès has joined with the Frank family to reissue some of his iconic furniture. The clean-lined cubic pieces with leather and wood veneers will be in the New York Hermès store at 691 Madison Avenue and other stores nationwide in April. At first glance, some of the pieces will seem familiar as Frank's understated approach to chairs, sofas, and tables has been widely copied, but in fact, rarely equaled. Frank had a devoted following, admirers of his pale palette and near minimalist approach. He designed apartments for such luminaries as the Rockefellers in New York and Cole Porter in Paris. In spite of his success, he was a tragic figure who lost two brothers in World War I, his father and then his mother at an early age. He left Paris for Argentina when Word War II broke out and horribly depressed committed suicide in Manhattan in 1941 at the age of 46. Frank's banking family included Otto Frank and his famous diarist daughter Anne.
The new collection would surely have pleased the designer because Hermès has been meticulous in its production sparing no expense to recreate the originals. The Frank "chair with a padded seat" is solid oak with leather upholstery in smooth calfskin. It is at once an eminent example of modern French style of the 1930s, but also so totally simple as to complement any room. Typical of Frank's preference for luxurious veneers, the three-drawer dressing table in the new collection is covered with parchment while the drawers have ivory goatskin lining. Eminently functional, the central panel has a retractable mirror, The collection also featues long low tables, comfortable club armchairs in calfskin, inverted nesting tables in parchment, and a stunning four-part folding screen in straw marquetry.
The collection will soon be posted online at www.hermes.com. For prices, call 800-331-4488.