Dunand rightly enjoyed double notoriety in the arts of dinanderie (copper work) and lacquer. He utilized all of the metal decoratiion processes with exceptional skill. A master of dinanderie, he practiced the art of hammering, repousse and carving tin, copper, silver and bronze. He created decorative vases, platters and boxes, as well as bookbinding plates and jewelry.
Beginning in 1912, Jean Dunand began learning the art of lacquer under a Japanese artist, Seizo Sugawara. He progressed from the ornamentation of decorative wood panels to screens and to furniture, resulting in the second component of Dunand’s incomparable talent.
His lacquers, natural or variously colored, could be engraved, sculpted in relief or inlaid with mother-of-pearl, pieces of stones or egg shells. His decorations were sometimes geometric, sometimes naturalistic. Dunand designed many of the lacquers himself, but others were furnished to him by painters such as Jouve, Labert-Rucki and even Miklos.
His first pieces of lacquered furniture were those presented at the Georges Petit Gallery in 1921 along with works by Goulden, Jouve and Schmied.
Jean Dunand also participated in the decorating of cruise ships including the Normandy, the Ile-de- France and the Liberty, for which he delivered huge, decorative lacquered panels.
Cf. P. KJELLBERG, Art Déco, Les maîtres du mobilier, Le décor des paquebots, Ed. de l’Amateur, Paris, 2000, p. 87 à 92