Bernar Venet - Design New York Wednesday, June 9, 2021 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Christie’s, New York, “Important 20th Century Decorative Art & Design,” June 12, 2014, lot 296
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Claude Lorent, Bernar Venet Furniture, Paris, 2002, fig. 17

  • Catalogue Essay

    Upon moving to New York in the 1960s, French-born artist Bernar Venet befriended other artists such as Donald Judd and Sol LeWitt, sharing their interest in minimalist modes of artistic production. During this time Venet also frequented the mathematics and physics departments at Columbia University, meeting and collaborating with researchers who would inform his conceptual approach to art and design. It is these interests which have defined his career and which, in some ways, define the present lots.

    In 1968, Venet moved to a loft in downtown Manhattan. Tired of his existing furnishings, Venet decided to create his own furniture, designing them with the same principles expressed in his artistic practice. Around the same time, Judd—also out of practical necessity—was drawing on similar inspirations, applying his sculptural background to furniture designs for his Spring Street loft. Like Judd’s work, Venet’s pieces are austere yet formidable, certainly distinct from his sculptural practice, but nevertheless inextricably linked to his main conceptual and artistic preoccupations.

    Venet first publicly exhibited his furniture in 1990 and the connections between his art and furniture were finally publicly recognized. In the present lots, one can see how the artist’s fascination with physics and mathematical phenomena developed the main subject of his work: the line. In the present coffee table, sofa, and desk, each side is exposed to create sharp steel lines arranged into grids and planes. The sobriety of his designs, while once a product of convenience, are recognized as part of the beautiful geometry of Venet’s oeuvre.

Property from the Collection of Pamela K. and William A. Royall Jr.



Torch-cut and waxed steel.
28 7/8 x 78 1/8 x 34 1/8 in. (73.3 x 198.4 x 86.7 cm)

$7,000 - 9,000 

Sold for $6,300

Contact Specialist

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New York Auction 9 June 2021