Jean Royère - Design Masters New York Tuesday, December 15, 2015 | Phillips
  • Provenance

    Commissioned from the designer, Paris, 1950s
    Private collection
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, circa 1999

  • Literature

    René Chavance, "Les aménagements nouveaux de Jean Royère et les réflexions qu'ils inspirent," Mobilier et Décoration, no. 8, 1956, p. 21
    Jean Royère: Décorateur à Paris, exh. cat., Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, 1999, throughout
    Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean Royère, Paris, 2002, throughout
    Galerie Jacques Lacoste and Galerie Patrick Seguin, Jean Royère, Volumes 1 and 2, Paris, 2012, throughout

  • Catalogue Essay

    Jean Royère’s greatest attributes—volume, flow, and humor—coalesced in his most iconic design, the Ours Polaire, which he conceived as a sofa in 1947, the same year couturier Christian Dior debuted the rounded shoulders and full skirts of his first collection, the “New Look”. The voluptuousness and congenial curves of Royère’s own new look soften our understanding of what at midcentury must have been a radical departure from both the starkness of modernism and the relative restraint of Art Deco. Although the present model draws from both precursors, its reductive plumpness swelled from Royère’s imagination as an unprecedented biomorph. Royère introduced Ours Polaire sofas in 1947 in both his own family’s Paris apartment at 234, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, and at “La Résidence Française”, a Paris exhibition organized by the magazine Art et Industrie. He employed armchairs (the present model) in major private commissions throughout the 1950s.

  • 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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"Ours Polaire" armchair

Fabric, painted oak.
28 x 39 1/2 x 35 1/2 in. (71.1 x 100.3 x 90.2 cm)

$160,000 - 220,000 

Sold for $269,000

Contact Specialist
Meaghan Roddy
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New York
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Design Masters

New York Auction 15 December 2015 5pm