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  • The decade following World War II has been referred to as Jean Prouvé’s “aluminum period.” Responding to a surplus of raw materials leftover from wartime armament production, he found applications for the metal in architectural projects as well as in his smaller-scale furniture productions.

     

    Left: The present model stool presented at the Salon des arts ménagers, 1953. Right: Jean Prouvé sitting on the present model stool. 
    Left: The present model stool presented at the Salon des arts ménagers, 1953. Right: Jean Prouvé sitting on the present model stool.

    Prouvé designed stools as early as 1935. Beginning in the late 1940s and early 1950s, he took particular interest in the form, creating at least ten stool prototypes—many of which employed pressed aluminum similar to the present model. The curves of the aluminum seat reflect the designer’s consideration for ergonomics as well as his smart manipulation of the malleable material. Earlier three-legged iterations of his stools proved to be too precarious, so he added a fourth leg for greater stability. The present design was marketed as model no. 307 and shown at various design expositions throughout the early 1950s. Many of these were lacquered in red and were sometimes upholstered. The present example is particularly rare, not only because of the form’s relative scarcity but also for its untreated aluminum seat.

    • Condition Report

    • Description

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    • Provenance

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

    • Literature

      "Foyers d'Aujourd'hui," Le Décor d'aujourd'hui, no. 78, 1953, p. 168
      Peter Sulzer, Jean Prouvé: Œuvre complète / Complete Works, Volume 3: 1944-1954, Basel, 2005, p. 257
      Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Prouvé, Volume 1, Paris, 2017, pp. 168-71

    • 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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Property of an International Collector, Curated by Joseph Dirand

30

Rare stool, model no. 307

circa 1953
Aluminum, painted steel, beech.
16 x 17 3/4 x 14 1/2 in. (40.6 x 45.1 x 36.8 cm)
Produced by Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, France.

Full Cataloguing

Estimate
$40,000 - 60,000 

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Design

New York Auction 7 December 2021