Cabinet of Wonders: The Gaston-Louis Vuitton Collection
Patrick Mauriès and John Banville
Representing the third generation of Vuittons, Gaston-Louis’s wide interests and voracious curiosity were intimately bound with the future of the family business.
A collector since his childhood, Gaston-Louis Vuitton (1883–1970) accumulated hundreds of objects over his lifetime. In addition to forming a collection of trunks – his first motivation and the one he announced publicly – his roving eye lit upon rare antique travel articles, locks and escutcheons, hand tools, perfume bottles, African masks, walking canes, vintage children’s toys, books, hotel labels (usually fixed on customers’ trunks), printed monograms and other typographical rarities. Together they form a rich personal evocation of curiosités industrielles, or quirks of the trade, as Gaston-Louis liked to call them. He described himself as an ‘unrepentant collector’, delighted by the ‘joy of the treasure hunter, the toil of the collector, […] an inexhaustible source of inspiration’.
This is a collection that will capture the imagination of anyone inspired by bizarre and eclectic curiosities, or those with an interest in the cultural taste and interests of someone who lived through the height of the Art Deco period – indeed, someone whose life was defined by the rigours and the rewards of world travel. It exhibits the highest design and production values for discerning international voyagers in search of the sources of luxury creativity.