Jean Royère - Design Evening New York Thursday, December 13, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Madame Parachini, France, 1958
    Thence by descent
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2009

  • Literature

    Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean Royère, Paris, 2017, p. 250 for a similar example

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present work is documented in the Jean Royère papers held by the Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris in the Parachini ensemble file as well as in the meuble d'appui file as tracing plan no. 7.077.

    For the present illuminated bar designed for Madame Parachini in 1958, Jean Royère covered the surfaces in straw marquetry, a fascinating technique that had been in use since at least the seventeenth century, but was most popular in France and Britain around the turn of the nineteenth century. The technique involves splitting and pressing down pieces of straw—usually rye—onto sheets of paper that were then adhered to the surface of an object. The individual stalks could be dyed any number of colors, allowing for complex patterns and pictorial scenes to be “painted” in straw.

    Though originally used for smaller objects such as workboxes and tea chests, in the 1920s Art Deco designers rediscovered the technique and began to cover entire pieces of furniture and even walls with straw marquetry, most often undyed and in simple radiating patterns. The designers surely admired the golden, light-reflective qualities of natural straw. The material is also remarkably durable, the grass containing a natural layer of protective silica.

    Working several decades later in a more playful, organic style than his Art Deco predecessors, Royère reintroduced color to straw marquetry. For a number of pieces he dyed the straw black, such as the “Flaque” table (sold at Phillips, New York, “Design,” June 6, 2018, lot 14). For Madame Parachini’s bar, Royère scattered colorful straw étoiles (stars) across the surface.

    Royère made five other straw marquetry-covered cabinets, recorded as meuble d’appui in the papers held by the Musée des Arts décoratifs, Paris, in the late 1950s. For Madame Parachini’s bar, Royère specified “meuble paillé sur les 4 faces” (straw on all four sides) for it was intended to be used as a room divider. Indeed, Royère’s drawing for the Parachini ensemble shows the bar situated between a seating and dining area, serving as an elegant transition piece for this carefully-considered interior.

  • 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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"Étoile" double-sided illuminated bar, from the Parachini residence, France

Straw marquetry-covered wood, glass, brass.
37 1/2 x 71 x 13 7/8 in. (95.3 x 180.3 x 35.2 cm)

$120,000 - 180,000 

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Design Evening

New York Auction 13 December 2018