Jean Prouvé - Design New York Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | Phillips
  • "Prouvé combines the soul of an engineer with that of an architect"
    —Le Corbusier

    The Direction armchair, designed in 1951, remains one of Jean Prouvé’s most invaluable contributions to twentieth-century furnishings. A reinterpretation of his earlier Bridge chair, the Direction model was ideal for offices and classrooms for its profuse accommodation of the sitter, though it was quickly adopted in other settings for its comfort and streamlined appearance. The chair features a tubular steel frame with sheet steel rear legs, two hallmarks in Prouvé’s œuvre that attest to his ingenuity both as a designer and an ironworker. Galerie Steph Simon later issued the chair, upholstering the chair in leather, vinyl, or fabric. 

    • Provenance

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

    • Literature

      Peter Sulzer, Jean Prouvé: Œuvre complète / Complete Works, Volume 3: 1944-1954, Basel, 2005, pp. 214-15
      Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Prouvé, Volume 1, Paris, 2017, pp. 148-53, 162
      Adrien Dirand, Yann Siliec, and Sarah Medford, Joseph Dirand: Interior, New York, 2017, illustrated p. 75

    • 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


"Direction" armchair, model no. 352

designed 1951, produced 1950s
Painted steel, oak, leather upholstery, rubber.
31 3/4 x 24 1/4 x 23 1/2 in. (80.6 x 61.6 x 59.7 cm)
Produced by Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, France and issued by Galerie Steph Simon, Paris, France.

Full Cataloguing

$60,000 - 80,000 

Sold for $69,300

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New York Auction 7 December 2021