Jean Royère - Design New York Wednesday, December 7, 2022 | Phillips
  • In an interview with the Revue de l’Ameublement in December of 1963, Jean Royère insisted that, “As a decorator I’m against decoration, in the sense that everything that is strictly ‘decorative’ is what goes out of style the fastest.” As a designer who represents a throughline from the restraint of early twentieth century French designers to the eccentricity that came to define the mid-century, it is no surprise that Royère concerned himself with the endurance of his designs. He went on to state, “When you’ve got a well-designed piece of furniture, the form and volume live on; but in most cases the stuff that’s added on is doomed to oblivion.” Form, therefore, becomes the key decorative element in Royère’s designs. A distinctive vocabulary can be recognized throughout the designer’s work; among this family of shapes, the undulating curve as seen in the present ceiling light is used to the greatest effect.


    The present model ceiling light in an interior designed by Jean Royère in Lebanon, circa 1949. Credit to come.
    The present model ceiling light in an interior designed by Jean Royère in Lebanon, circa 1949. Artwork © 2022 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn.

    The present model represents the irresistible grace of Royère’s work. Tubular metal, a quintessentially modern material, forms the wavy line which is then paired with an unexpected pop of color to create a design that is at once fancifully decorative while maintaining its enduring appeal. In the same 1963 interview, Royère exclaimed, “For me, words like ‘functional,’ ‘style,’ ‘contemporary’ are meaningless. Let it be successful: I don’t know of any other imperative!”

    • Provenance

      DeLorenzo 1950, New York
      Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2000

    • Literature

      "Jean Royère ou bon sens et fantaisie," Mobilier et Décoration, June 1949, p. 6
      Galerie Jacques Lacoste and Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Royère, Volume 2, Paris, 2012, p. 38

    • Artist Biography

      Jean Royère

      French • 1902 - 1981

      Jean Royère took on the mantle of the great artistes décorateurs of 1940s France and ran with it into the second half of the twentieth century. Often perceived as outside of the modernist trajectory ascribed to twentieth-century design, Royère was nonetheless informed by and enormously influential to his peers. Having opened a store in Paris in 1943 before the war had ended, he was one of the first to promote a new way of life through interior decoration, and his lively approach found an international audience early on in his career.

      In addition to commissions in Europe and South America, Royère had a strong business in the Middle East where he famously designed homes for the Shah of Iran, King Farouk of Egypt and King Hussein of Jordan. The surrealist humor and artist's thoughtful restraint that he brought to his furniture designs continue to draw admiration to this day.

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Property from a Notable New York Collection


"Ondulation" ceiling light

circa 1939
Painted metal, paper shades.
23 1/2 in. (59.7 cm) drop, 53 in. (134.6 cm) diameter

Full Cataloguing

$100,000 - 150,000 

Sold for $201,600

Contact Specialist

Benjamin Green
Associate Specialist

Associate Head of Sale
+1 917 207 9090



New York Auction 7 December 2022