It was not until the twentieth century that artists and artisans began to sign their works.
The Lalique signature (emblematic Art Nouveau jeweler) is probably the most sought after of all decorative artists. But these marvelous pieces are either in museums (Calouste-Gulbenkian Museum in Lisbon and Arts Décoratifs de Paris) or they are trading for astronomical prices.
In 'A WING BEAT' exhibition, the horn hair comb with two sparrows fighting is signed Albert Vigan, who was famous among the Art Nouveau artists during the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The other designers were talented as well but remained largely unknown. We often find signatures of designers which never achieved fame like L. Roulé, F. Birkel, GIP…). Sometimes the style of a comb is so close to that of Gaillard, Elizabeth Bonte or Boutet de Montvel that we are tempted to say "Attributed to…" but without any certainty at all.
Among the designers of the Oyonnax valley in France, some great names were famous in the years 1900-1930. Auguste Bonaz is the most outstanding figure from this period, along with Marius Camet, Clément Joyard, Léon Arbez-Carme. A lot of them did not even sign their creations. Catalogues from the Felix Hugon factory were found (as shown in CONTEXT), but none of their combs were marked.
More recently, we find trademarks like Baguigon or Geneviève Clément, who were the precursors of the industrial era.
In Denmark, the Art Nouveau period was marked by Georg Jensen, whose silver repoussé plates mounted on tortoiseshell and enhanced with quartz inspired other Danish artists around him. As for Thorvald
Bindesbøll, he remains totally original, with his blistered decor.
Later, in France in the 60s -70s, Lea Stein used plastic as no one had done before, by a special overlay process developed by her husband. Her work is colorful and its perfectly mastered design is still popular today.
Great couturiers like Chanel quickly grasped the importance of coordinating their clothes with signed accessories. We soon spot her logo on combs. Similarly, great hairstylists like Alexandre have created their own line of ornaments.
Take a look too at a comb imitating the Lalique style. It played a supporting part in the film «Titanic» by James Cameron. In effect, this item (brought up from the wreck of the ship) awakens all Rose's memories, especially all the episodes of her romantic relationship with Jack. Some certified copies, very collectible today, were sold when the film was released.
Finally, combs placed on the market by the Salvador Dali Theatre/Museum in Figueras, Spain (with the master's famous moustache as a decoration) are an example of the multiple expressions of this type of ornament.
Some ornaments you will find in the virtual museum are in their original box, but the hallmark generally gives us the name of the jeweler who sold the item but was not necessarily the designer and maker.
Many Chinese or Japanese items of the Creative Museum collection are signed but we are not yet able to read them.
Concerning Oceania or Africa, there is no tradition for sculptors to sign their design. But we have an exception in our collection: a comb signed Adama Coulibaly Naha, from Korhogo, Ivory Coast.