Jean Prouvé - 20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale Hong Kong Saturday, November 26, 2016 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Private Collection, Nancy, France
    Jousse Entreprise, Paris
    VINTAGE 20, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    New York, Museum of Modern Art, Le Corbusier: An Atlas of Modern Landscapes, June 15-September 23, 2013; then travelled to Barcelona, CaixaForum, January 28-May 11, 2014 and Madrid, CaixaForum, June 10-October 12, 2014

  • Literature

    Willy Boesiger, ed., Le Corbusier et son Atelier rue de Sèvres 35, OEuvre Complète Volume 5: 1946-1952, New York, 1990, pp. 209, 213
    Galeries Jousse Seguin and Enrico Navarra, Jean Prouvé, Paris, 1998, p. 54
    Peter Sulzer, Jean Prouvé: OEuvre Complète, Volume 3: 1944-1954, Basel, 2005, p. 159, fgs. 1135.4,2, 1135.4,4 for an image and technical drawing
    Galerie Patrick Seguin and Sonnabend Gallery, Jean Prouvé, Volume 2, Paris and New York, 2007, pp. 271, 291, p. 510 for a Steph Simon prospectus

  • Catalogue Essay

    Jean Boutemain’s technical drawing: 8963, dated July 26, 1941, is considered to be the initial plan for the 'Visiteur' armchair designed for the Solvey hospital. In 1952, after a decade of refinement to the initial design, the Atelier Jean Prouvé produced the technical drawing: 555 555 for the 'Visiteur' armchair, model no. 350. This plan of the present lot depicts a metal seat, which superseded the previously designed model with a seat fabricated in plywood. The modifications made to the armchair improved comfort, engendering domestic and workplace appeal, which is why this specific model armchair was used within the residential interiors of the L’Unité d’Habitation, Marseilles, designed by Le Corbusier.

    The longevity of the 'Visiteur' armchair design included further modifications for its various purposes and locations. Steph Simon’s willingness to promote and retail the 'Visiteur' armchair, model no. 350 into the late 1950s, is demonstrative of its superiorly refined design compared to other models. The present lot has a pronounced and revealing wave to the profile of the metal seat. All of the components are elegantly balanced and complimented further by the armchair’s original upholstery.

  • Artist Biography

    Jean Prouvé

    French • 1901 - 1984

    Jean Prouvé believed in design as a vehicle for improvement. His manufactory Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, located in Nancy, France, produced furniture for schools, factories and municipal projects, both within France and in locations as far flung as the Congo. Though he designed for the masses, pieces such as his "Potence" lamps and "Standard" chairs are among the most iconic fixtures in sophisticated, high-design interiors today. Collectors connect with his utilitarian, austere designs that strip materials down to the bare minimum without compromising on proportion or style.

    Prouvé grew up in Nancy, France, the son of Victor Prouvé, an artist and co-founder of the École de Nancy, and Marie Duhamel, a pianist. He apprenticed to master blacksmiths in Paris and opened a small wrought iron forge in Nancy. However it was sheet steel that ultimately captured Prouvé's imagination, and he ingeniously adapted it to furniture, lighting and even pre-fabricated houses, often collaborating with other design luminaries of the period, such as Robert Mallet-Stevens, Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand.

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Rare 'Visiteur' armchair, model no. 350

designed 1952
oak, painted steel, painted metal, vinyl, rubber
92 x 70 x 90 cm (36 1/4 x 27 1/2 x 35 3/8 in.)
Manufactured by Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, France, designed 1952, this work is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Jousse Entreprise.

HK$750,000 - 950,000 

Sold for HK$875,000

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20th Century & Contemporary Art & Design Evening Sale

Hong Kong Auction 27 November 2016