Circa 1930 Parisian daybed with original 18-carat goldleaf finish
More than three decades ago, Anne Hauck's father gave her 15,000 marks to buy a car. Instead, the spunky young fraulein, who lived in the German border community of Landau near France, went to Paris and bought a load of Art Deco furniture. "It was what I loved," says the dealer, "and I still have such a passion for it." So much so that over the years she has filled warehouses in Germany with pieces, both signed and unsigned, from the Art Deco period of the 1920s, which was characterized by simple, streamlined high-end furniture made of precious woods and incorporating silver, bronze and other metal details.
Hauck opened a shop in Bad Homburg, then in Frankfurt and began selling from her precious cache, which today numbers more than 500 pieces. Three years ago she opened a store on Robertson Boulevard in Los Angeles, where she has made a name among Los Angeles' interior design stars selling pristine furniture designed by 1920s greats Jules Leleu, Sue et Mare, Josef Hofmann and even Jacques-Emile Ruhlmann, considered to be the master designer of the Art Deco period. "Some of the furniture is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars and more," says Hauck, adding, "They aren't even available on the market anymore."
Lately, the collector-turned-dealer, whose interior designer clientele includes Frank Pennino and Philippe Oates, has been purchasing Art Deco pieces and 1930s and 1940s furniture that she was seeing on her buying trips in the south of France. And she just opened a shop on Melrose Avenue called Arts Decoratifs to present her finds, such as a circa 1935 black
Art Deco bar of citron wood with bronze hardware
One of a pair of French Deco console tables
lacquered desk with green ostrich leather and a red coffee table with gold inlay by the Dunand workshop. "These pieces are a bit more funky," says Hauck, characterizing the inventory at the new shop as what the pre-war French middle class was buying. "A serious desk on Robertson would cost $25,000 to $50,000. At Arts Decoratifs I have desks for $10,000."
What differentiates Hauck from other dealers is that she likes to make purchases at favorable prices so that her furniture is accessible. While the dealer has sold antiques in the several-hundred-thousand-dollar range, "I don't want to sit on a million-dollar cabinet for three years," she says. "I like for people to see new things when they come to my shops."
Hauck has furniture in need of touch-ups repaired or refinished in her workshop in Germany, which is manned by the former curator of the Landes Museum and two assistants. "They can restore parchment desks, which is almost impossible," says Hauck, who spends most of her time moving pieces out of her warehouses in Germany and having them primed before shipping them to Los Angeles, where she now resides full-time, having closed her German showrooms.
Along with unusual pieces that are unsigned but very decorative, she continues to offer silver tea services, vintage ceramic vases and other accessories at her Robertson shop and has begun consulting with interior designers, among them Carolyn Lawrence, who ask Hauck to buy specific pieces of furniture for them when she is in Europe. "These days I'm mostly buying for my customers," says Hauck. "My warehouses can supply me for the next five years."
From a set of 14 rosewood dining chairs designed by M. Jallot, circa 1932