Cobra Lamp by Brandt Cobra Lamp by Brandt Cobra Lamp by Brandt Cobra Lamp by Brandt Cobra Lamp by Brandt Cobra Lamp by Brandt Cobra Lamp by Brandt
Cobra, A Gilt-Bronze and Opalescent Glass Table Lamp

The base by Edgar Brandt, the glass by Daum Nancy, circa 1925

The base stamped E.BRANDT

40 ½ in (103 cm) high

cf. Joan Kahr, Edgar Brandt: Master of Art Deco Ironwork, 1999, p.157
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The ‘Cobra’ table lamp, designed by Edgar Brandt (1880-1960) is one of his most successful models. Brandt’s exceptional talent was in the combining and decorative treatment of different metals to stunning effect. For example, he would complement wrought iron with bronze or steel, and would patinate the metals in a rich variety of tones including gold and silver. He was a leading force during a period of great achievement in French decorative arts and design, creating an entirely new aesthetic for the medium of wrought iron.

Visual representations of snakes go back to the Palaeolithic period. Worship of the snake was prevalent in many ancient cultures, including those of Egypt and Greece, where snakes had religious meaning. Egyptian pharaohs wore the uraeus, the figure of the sacred asp or cobra, on their crowns, and uraei were depicted in temples and tombs to ward off enemies. For the decorative artist, the snake is an evocative motif that is also malleable and can be twisted into handles or lengthened for lamps or vases. The cobra with its dilated throat, so often seen in Egyptian works, suggested to Brandt and his designers not only an appropriate shape for a lamp but also a dramatic form for expression in iron or bronze.

The snake motif had enjoyed popularity in French decorative arts since the 19th century and became ubiquitous in the 1920s. Artists such as Lucien Falize and René Lalique fashioned jewellery with snakes’ heads and bodies during the Art Nouveau movement. Jean Dunand exhibited copper vases flanked by cobras and individual bronze sculptures of snakes in 1913 and 1919. Brandt would have been stimulated by these works to produce his own decorative variation of the snake form.