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  • "We should start designing with the largest element that we may successfully accommodate our smallest everyday gestures, 365 days a year."
    —Charlotte Perriand 


    In its simultaneous utility and refinement, the present table represents a compelling synthesis of Charlotte Perriand’s nearly eight-decade career. Not long after completing her training in the decorative arts at the École de l'Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, Perriand joined the avant-garde atelier of Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, itself an impressive accomplishment for any designer, nonetheless for a young woman. Initially a devout modernist interested in designing furniture only in metal and glass, the genesis of the present model began in 1928, when Perriand modeled the metal legs of a dining table after the lateral wings of early biplanes. In the same year, Perriand designed the équipement de l’habitation line (home furnishings) with Le Corbusier and Jeanneret, who named her a partner at their studio and assumed co-authorship for the home furnishings program.

     

    Early biplane, circa 1924, whose design in part inspired the present model table’s form.

    These furnishings were a departure from Perriand’s earlier, Art Deco works, not only for their brazen wielding of tubular metal, but also for their ergonomic character. The ovoid legs of the 1928 dining table would become a distinctive motif in the designer’s œuvre and were later realized in wood for a table Perriand designed for her clients Paul and Ange Gutmann in 1935. Perriand turned to wood not only out of necessity, but as a keen photographer of the natural world, she also recognized the formal value of organic forms and materials, attributing an earthly sensuality to wood in particular. Absent from the 1935 model were the sidelong grooves, a feature Perriand devised in the 1950s and exhibited in the present model, which imbue the table with handcrafted distinction. These defining attributes served functional purposes in addition to their visual palatability: diners could avoid hitting their knees against the legs, due to their 45-degree angling, and the grooves permitted seamless alignment of table mats. 

     

    Left: Galerie Steph Simon prospectus illustrating the present model table. Right: The present model table at the Exposition de l’Habitation, Paris, 1936. Artwork: © 2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
    Left: Galerie Steph Simon prospectus illustrating the present model table. Right: The present model table at the Exposition de l’Habitation, Paris, 1936. Artwork: © 2021 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

    The table with these features became standardized by Galerie Steph Simon in 1956, who issued the design in three sizes and varying woods, often employing whichever material was most readily available. The present model, made of mahogany, is notably ebonized, recalling Perriand’s tenure in Japan between 1940 and 1941, where she served as an invited advisor for industrial art to the Imperial Ministry of Commerce. Inspired by trips to Bunraku theaters, where puppets were operated by individuals dressed entirely in black, effectively transforming into shadows on stage, Perriand ebonized her plywood Ombre (shadow) chairs. Few of Perriand’s designs, whether chairs or dining tables, were stained in such a dark sheen, making the present model a rare one. Far from concealing the character of the mahogany, this staining impresses upon the table a subtle elegance, announcing a singular work in Perriand’s œuvre. 

     
    • Condition Report

    • Description

      View our Conditions of Sale.

    • Provenance

      Galerie Steph Simon, Paris
      Acquired from the above, 1999
      Galerie Downtown François Laffanour, Paris
      Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2010

    • Literature

      Jacques Barsac, Charlotte Perriand: Complete Works Volume 3, 1956-1968, Paris, 2017, p. 90
      Adrien Dirand, Yann Siliec, and Sarah Medford, Joseph Dirand: Interior, New York, 2017, illustrated pp. 75, 77

    • Artist Biography

      Charlotte Perriand

      French • 1903 - 1999

      Trailblazer Charlotte Perriand burst onto the French design scene in her early 20s, seemingly undeterred by obstacles in an era when even the progressive Bauhaus school of design barred women from architecture and furniture design courses. She studied under Maurice Dufrêne at the École de l'Union Centrale des art Décoratifs, entering into a competition at the 1925 Expo des Arts Décoratifs by age 22 and gaining critical acclaim for her exhibition at the Salon d'Automne in 1927.

      On the heels of this success, that same year she joined the Paris design studio of Le Corbusier and his cousin Pierre Jeanneret. For ten years the three collaborated on "equipment for living," such as the iconic tubular steel B306 Chaise Longue (1928). After World War II, Perriand joined forces with Jean Prouvé to create modernist furniture that combined the precise lines of Prouvé's bent steel with the soft, round edges and warmth of natural wood.

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Property of an International Collector, Curated by Joseph Dirand

28

Dining table

circa 1960
Ebonized mahogany.
27 7/8 x 78 x 30 5/8 in. (70.8 x 198.1 x 77.8 cm)
Issued by Galerie Steph Simon, Paris, France.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$70,000 - 90,000 

Place Advance Bid
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212-940-1268

Design

New York Auction 7 December 2021