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'Le Jazz' by Robj, circa 1925.
A very rare set of 4 Art Deco porcelain figures comprising a quartet of caricature black jazz musicians, namely accordionist, banjo player, saxophonist and drummer, playing their instruments. All signed ‘Robj, Paris’. French, circa 1925.
Height of saxophonist: 11 inches (28 cm).
The House of Robj was set up by Jean Born in 1908, and was an anagram of his name. Robj was principally a design house rather than a manufacturer and they sponsored an annual design exhibition to encourage new talent. Their products were made by ceramic and porcelain manufacturers, principally Villeroy and Boch, commissioned especially by Robj. Jean Born died in a car accident in 1922, but the company continued under the direction of his partner, Lucien Willmetz, until 1931, and the 1920s are considered the golden age of the company.
This group, known as ‘Le Jazz’, dating from the mid-1920s and emblematic of the Art Deco period, is considered amongst the most desirable of Robj pieces, and was introduced to capitalise on the Parisian craze for black jazz music when the black American singer and dancer Josephine Baker took the French capital by storm with her ‘Revue Negre’ cabaret show in 1925.
‘Le Jazz’ is extensively documented in Vanna Brega’s definitive reference work, ‘Robj: Le Ceramiche 1921-1931’, and illustrated on the front cover.