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This month's featured item
Vintage Brutalist polished brass coffee table with glass top by French sculptor Santa (Claude SANTARELLI), 1970s.
Claude Santarelli, known as Santa, was a French sculptor born in Paris, on 6th March 1925 and died in the same city, on 10th March 1979. Following his studies at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris under Marcel-Armand Gaumont and Hubert Yencesse, he was hired as a stylist at the Glass atelier of Arques. After moving to Saint-Omer he began working with metal forms in 1958 and adopted an abstract style. He initially constructed his sculptures from industrial waste such as plates, tubes and bars. In the 60s he took to using brass as it was more malleable and easier to work than iron and most of his recognisable pieces use brass as the main medium.
Although predominantly known as a sculptor he also applied his style to furniture, and in particular, to a vanishingly small number of coffee tables and dining tables. In common with his sculptures, his work is instantly recognisable by the construction; more usually this encompasses flat panels welded together to form strong geometric shapes and patterns and then joined with thick welded wire. The welded wire most closely resembles bamboo, but has also been likened to long fingers with joints and callouses which ‘hold’ the structure together.
His art soon drew the attention of an International audience and in 1965 he was invited to participate in the first Symposium du Québec in Montreal where, later, he was awarded the André Susse Prize. In the 1970s he continued with his sculptural work but also created a number of unique pieces of jewellery for the Parisian jeweller Gennari. He later married Sylviane Garnier, who owned a small gallery of modern art, Rue de Wissocq in Saint-Omer where his pieces were exhibited and sold.
His work is extremely rare and sought after by collectors and is often described as Brutalist - and certainly in its raw form it can look very stark and industrial with sharpened, angular shapes that cut into the space around them. Occasionally you will find examples hand patinated to resemble bronze, but more often they are refinished and polished – as here. This creates a stunning juxtaposition of bright, polished surfaces adorning what are often dark and brooding shapes, and thus lifts the art to a different level.
In this piece, which is signed by the artist on one side panel as shown in the accompanying photographs, we see a rare combination of bright polish, but also with a brushed finish to the main flat panels on the reverse. The brushing adds texture and contrast and this gives the added flexibility of allowing the base to be shown either way up depending on your own personal preference.
As is common with his work, despite the polished finishes the craftsmanship exhibited by grinding marks and fissures remain in the surface and along some of the edges here and there, just as you would expect with a hand-made piece. The glass top is in good condition with light scratches and marks, but there are no chips out of the edge.
More details HERE
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