A striking Art Deco period celluloid hair comb with a tall asymmetric design
CONDITION: good vintage condition
SIZE: 9 ins h x 2½ ins w (23 x 6 cms)
APPROXIMATE DATE: 1910s – 1920s
Here is one of those tall pointy combs which are iconic for the Art Deco period. Placed at an acute angle in the hair, the beautiful decoration of the heading would be visible from every angle.
The ornament is made from glossy black celluloid and has an asymmetric wedge shaped heading with the top left hand corner “pulled out” to the left. It is decorated with a design which suggests leaves or petals, which is emphasized by incised lines, in filled with white pigment. The effect is further emphasized with clear rhinestones.
This striking glossy black celluloid hair comb is unsigned, but is similar to the more modernist influenced shapes which emerged from Maison Bonaz in the late 1920s. The final picture shows an advertisement for the Bonaz atelier of the later 1920s, illustrating the more angular silhouettes which were produced.
Many of these later Art Deco combs are in pure, abstract forms, with little surface ornamentation for a very powerful effect. The strong contrasting shapes – ovals, squares, or oblongs - show a deep appreciation and understanding of the potential of the material.
More extreme ornaments like this example reflect the qualities of the modernist and futurist art movements, and the aesthetics of the Bauhaus. In Modernism the emphasis was upon the medium, and the process of production, rather than the intrinsic value of the materials, while the Bauhaus was an attempt to combine craftsmanship and high design with mass production.
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