MARBRO CHALKWARE HARLEQUIN TABLE LAMP AFTER RENÉ DE SAINT-MARCEAUX
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A chalkware table lamp in the form of Charles-René de Paul de Saint-Marceaux's iconic Belle Époque bronze, L'Arlequin—from the MARBRO LAMP COMPANY of Los Angeles. Standing with arms crossed on a faux wood platform, the masked player wears a grin and is clad in a white commedia costume with a black-and-gold diamond pattern. The lamp is paired with a black, opaque, pagoda-style shade, lined in textured gold metallic foil.
MARBRO LAMP CO. was founded, shortly after the end of WWII, by brothers Morris and Elliott Markoff in the garment district of Los Angeles, California. Best known for its table lamps, MARBRO offered a wide selection of antiques and décor accessories. Its pieces were available in a handful of upscale shops, and it was the go-to supplier of Hollywood Regency and mid-century modern lighting for L.A.'s interior designers. The company gathered a loyal following among Hollywood celebrities. The name is a portmanteau of "Markoff" and "brothers."
MARBRO lamps were usually made to order and hence one-of-a-kind. Vases and objets d’art, sourced from all over the world, were used as bases. Brass bases came from India, alabaster from Italy, porcelain from Japan and China, and crystal from Germany and France. Murano glass and whimsical bronze figurines were two of the more popular base materials. MARBRO ordered parts in bulk; its highly-skilled woodturners and shade-makers crafted lampshades and wooden bases; and then teams assembled the pieces and applied finishing touches. Lamps generally took between 75 and 90 days to complete. Occasionally, they were made from sculptures that customers brought in themselves.
In 1987, MARBRO was purchased by the Masco Corporation. Production continued under the MARBRO name until December 1990, when the Los Angeles assembly plant was shuttered. The equipment and remaining inventory was moved to LaBarge Mirrors in Holland, Michigan, a Masco subsidiary. The MARBRO name was retired soon after.
Maker – MARBRO LAMP COMPANY
Production Period – 1950s
Origin – USA
Styles/Movements – FIGURATIVE; MID-CENTURY MODERN
Materials – PAPER, PLASTER
Colors – WHITE, BLACK, GOLD, TAN
Shade – INCLUDED
Power – UP TO 120V (US STANDARD), CORDED, TYPE 'A' PLUG
Condition – Good vintage condition. No chips, cracks, or repairs. May show signs of previous use.
Dimensions – 16" DIAM. × 42" H