Category Archives: Auguste Bonaz

Auguste Bonaz at the Creative Museum

The Creative Museum just acquired another masterpiece by Auguste Bonaz.

Made c. 1920 in Oyonnax, five medallions of painted leaves and rhinestones rest in the middle of a curved frame. The medallions are held in place by vertical lines.

I thought this might be a good opportunity to peruse some of the Creative Museum’s other Bonaz combs. Here are two combs from his Art Nouveau period, c. 1910.

Two delicately carved and painted peacocks hold a green medallion in a comb shaped for their tails. How lovely it would look when worn with an embroidered dress.

There are gold accents on this dragon’s wings and head, and his eyes are made of yellow paste stones.

In his Art Deco period, c. 1920…

I call this comb “Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining.” Tines are used in a uniquely imaginative way, depicting both the rain pouring from the clouds, but also in their usual function at the bottom of the comb.

Black was the favorite color of the Art Deco pallette. In this comb, Bonaz put a turquoise cabachon in the middle, surrounded it with mosaic-like decorations, and lined everything with tiny silver dots.

Bonaz’s mantilla combs are unmatched. In this ivory one, the intricate decoration entrances the eye.

Celluloid was able to be shaped as far as the imagination could go, thanks to the comb-making machines at Oyonnax. In this comb, Bonaz suspends seven balls on an architectural frame.

Please feel free to examine more of the Creative Museum’s Auguste Bonaz collection and their exhibitions From Art Nouveau to Art Deco, Part 1 and Part 2

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For more scholarly research, please examine our Resource Library and these books


Christie’s Art Deco

The Best of Bakelite and Other Plastic Jewelry

1933 French B/W Ad Auguste Bonaz Hair Jewelry Art Deco – Original Print Ad

The Creative Museum: From Art Nouveau to Art Deco

Part two of The Creative Museum’s presentation, “From Art Nouveau to Art Deco,” will be appearing on October 22. I am looking forward to it because their scholarship is immaculate. Here are a few of my favorite Art Deco combs from their collection. They are all by Auguste Bonaz. I think it is interesting to…Continue Reading

Galalith Plastic in Art Deco Jewelry: Auguste Bonaz Comb

In 1897, Wilhelm Krische discovered that a new synthetic material could be made from the interaction of caesin (milk proteins) and formaldehyde. He combined the Greek words for milk and stone (gala and lithos) and named his new plastic Galalith. It revolutionized the button industry. But also made in sheets, it could be cut and…Continue Reading

Creative Museum: Recent Acquisitions

The Creative Museum has acquired four new pieces: This is one of the greatest Auguste Bonaz combs I have ever seen. I don’t even know what to say. For me, when I look at this, I see a mythical griffin with real ruby eyes, as in the English tradition, or a Japanese water-god dragon with…Continue Reading

Creative Museum: Fabulous Auguste Bonaz

The Creative Museum has just acquired a new Auguste Bonaz comb. Clear celluloid is decorated in a geometric red design that changes with the light. You may also notice the brilliance of Joel Olliveaud’s photography, where the dark grey shadow matches the diagonal edge of the comb, before the light softens at the bottom. This…Continue Reading

Celluloid Combs: Leominster, MA, and France’s Oyonnax Valley

Who invented celluloid? The credit cannot go to one person or one continent. However, the world’s first thermoplastic was registered in 1870. With celluloid, heat and machines could be used to mold, cut, and carve many objects per hour for the first time. Capitalists invested. Artists’ imaginations went wild. Endless possibilities of color, shape, and…Continue Reading

Auguste Bonaz in the Machine

The Industrial Revolution was built on the invention of new materials and the machines that allowed them to be mass produced into cheap products, quickly. The exploitation of sweatshop laborers had a profound impact on society. Plastic comb making was no exception. In America, the most famous factory was in Leominster, Massachusetts. In France, combs…Continue Reading