Friday, May 16, 2014

Degué, the Normandie, and French Art Deco Lighting

By Gretchen Sawatzki

We see a lot of interesting pieces pass through our showroom; some have incredible stories and others, not so much, but last week we took in a French Art Deco light fixture that had a surprising story.

As we were cleaning the light fixture we discovered a faint signature on the central bowl! At first it looked like it said "Jegue," but after a bit of research we determined that the signature was Degué - a name we were not familiar with. 

Degué was the creation of a Spanish-Turk named David Guéron who after the 1925 Exposition des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, France established a glassworks to produce glassware of all kinds. About a year later Guéron began producing art glass and etched glass light fixtures, like ours.

The company produced all types of decorative items including vases, paperweights, stemware, and even perfume bottles for export and French collectors until 1939 when the outbreak of World War II forced the studio to close. But before the glassworks shut its doors, it was commissioned to create 6,000 individual glass panels for the French ocean liner, Normandie.

It goes to show that you never truly know what you have until you research it. For us, we uncovered a rare gem that was likely produced somewhere between 1925 and 1939. If not for cleaning the glass bowl, we would have never found the faint signature and its incredible story.

The lavish interior of the S.S. Normandie 

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