Jean Prouvé - Design New York Tuesday, June 7, 2022 | Phillips

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  • Literature

    Peter Sulzer, Jean Prouvé: Œuvre complète / Complete Works, Volume 3: 1944-1954, Basel, 2005, pp. 208-12, 232, 268
    Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Prouvé, Volume 1, Paris, 2017, pp. 88-93, 99, 409, 410
    Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Prouvé, Volume 2, Paris, 2017, pp. 25, 60-61, 66-67, 79, 80, 84-85

  • Catalogue Essay

    Prouvé was born in 1901 in Nancy, France and studied engineering before becoming interested in metalwork, apprenticing under a local blacksmith. Ultimately, it was steel and aluminum that grabbed the designer’s attention as new materials for designing modern, durable, and easily-produced furniture. In 1931, Prouvé established Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé which became the site where his designs were rigorously tested, refined, and adapted. Imbued with social idealism and ambitious business sense, the designer preferred furniture commissions in the public sector which required his work to be functional, austere, and easily produced.

    The Semi-metal chair—first designed in 1935 and developed for broader production in the 1950s—epitomizes the effort to marry ingenious design and mass production. Prouvé wanted to design a chair in which the user could lean back onto the rear feet, which bear the most weight, without compromising the sleek silhouette of the lightweight design. His solution was to design back legs of folded metal, resembling an airfoil with their gracefully tapered form. This metal support is not just functional, but also the most striking aspect of the design.

  • 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.

    View More Works

Property of a Private Collector

4

Set of six "Semi-metal" chairs, model no. 305

designed 1950, produced 1950-1969
Beech-veneered plywood, painted steel, rubber.
Each: 32 x 16 3/8 x 18 3/4 in. (81.3 x 41.6 x 47.6 cm)
Produced by Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, France and issued by Galerie Steph Simon, Paris, France.

Estimate
$40,000 - 60,000 

Sold for $75,600

Contact Specialist

Benjamin Green
Associate Specialist

Associate Head of Sale

[email protected]
+1 917 207 9090

Design

New York Auction 7 June 2022