A most unusual modernist coromandel (Macassar ebony) bookcase, attributed to Robert Block
France, circa 1935
107 cm high by 60 cm wide by 24 cm deep
Robert Block was the first director of the 'Athelia' studios, founded in 1928 and attached to the Paris department store, Aux Trois Quartiers. His furniture was marketed in London by Heals, and Waring and Gillow. He used exotic timbers, lacquer, mirror glass and metal to create furniture in the 'moderne' style.
Of Jewish heritage, he had to immigrate to Mexico in the late 1930s and worked through the 1970s with his brother Mito. The work of the brothers was widely shown in Revista Architectura and other publications. It was known for its neoclassical style, with a very sober air toward modernism. The Blocks, besides being painters with landscape inclinations, had a decorating and design showroom on Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City and worked on many occasions with the engineer Martinez Negrete who build high end residences and interiors in Mexico City.