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  • Literature

    Andrea Branzi, The Hot House: Italian New Wave Design, Cambridge, 1984, p. 126 fig. 331
    Sefano Casciani, et. al., Alessandro Mendini, Milan, 1989, a similar drawing on p. 69

  • Catalogue Essay

    Alessandro Mendini designed his ‘Poltrona di Proust’ for the 1978 ‘Room of the Century’ exhibition at Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara. Mendini based his design on an 18th-century Rococo-style armchair which he purchased in the Veneto and which was subsequently hand-painted by Prospero Rasulo and Pier Antonio Volpini. Together the two artists executed the first four or five examples of ‘Proust’, the surface decoration of which was taken from a detail of a Paul Signac painting that was projected onto the chair.

    The wood and upholstery of the chair functioned as both canvas and frame for the pointillist painting. Only very early chairs adhere to the pattern and palette determined by the detail of the original Signac painting. Over time different painters produced chairs and their decorations deviated significantly from that original template, with the appearance of the chairs increasingly determined by the painters themselves.

    Alessandro Mendini believes the present lot to be among the earliest examples of ‘Poltrona di Proust’ painted in the late 1970s by Prospero Rasulo and Pier Antonio Volpini or possibly by Franco Migliaccio, who succeeded them. The present chair is therefore one of the very first of these “aesthetic bombs” to explode the modernist orthodoxy of functionalism.


'Spaziale' chair

circa 1981
Painted wood.
85 × 55 × 56 cm (33 1/2 × 21 5/8 × 22 in)
Produced by Studio Alchimia, Italy. From the edition of 6.

£8,000 - 12,000 

Sold for £15,000


26 April 2012