COCO CHANEL’S APARTMENT
THE COROMANDEL SCREENS
“I’ve loved Chinese screens since I was eighteen years old…I nearly fainted with joy when, entering a Chinese shop, I saw a Coromandel for the first time…Screens were the first thing I bought…” (Quoted in “Chanel Solitaire” by Claude Delay – Gallimard – 1983 p.12)Mademoiselle Chanel is believed to have owned 32 folding screens. Her apartment at 31 rue Cambon had eight of them, which she freely used in ways other than for what they were intended — she dressed her walls with them, like wallpaper, or used them to give structure to her private space.
It is also said that she used them to hide the doors. That way, she was sure to keep her guests when receiving them for dinner.The Coromandel screens embody her taste for Chinese art, which she discovered together with Boy Capel. The Coromandel lacquer technique emerged at the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), in the Hunan province, in the heart of China. The major themes include mythology, scenes of imperial life and love of nature, which bestow a spiritual dimension upon the art form.