Combs ornament the hair and reveal true beauty in a woman’s face. Its greatest creators borrowed motifs from nature, such as flowers, insects, and birds. Art Nouveau’s roots lived underneath those flowers.
Natural themes were combined with French Symbolist ideals, which posited that artists should reveal the truth indirectly, using suggestive metaphors. Lalique’s orchid combs were not only flowers. Art nouveau artists such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh used geometric ideas: straight lines, and curved lines for scrolls and Greek friezes.
We must not forget that the human figure was a favorite theme not only in Africa and Indonesia, but in America and Europe, as well.
The collector’s skill is identifying an object in the context of the society that created it. Pleasure and surprise delight the eye when by chance, something is found that is so unusual, its uniqueness defies definition.
Who would think that an airplane propeller and a compass could decorate a comb? It all depends on how the subject is treated. The metal gold, the fake diamond in the center of the propeller aircraft, and attention to every detail make this elaborate comb a work of love, as well as a work of art.
Similarly, an artist surprised me with this comb-shaped mouth. Cut from laminated plastic in two tones, it becomes something sophisticated and interesting. It is the artist’s creativity that can change mundane materials into a concept someone would have never thought of before.
written by Catherine Olliveaud