Jean-Michel Frank - Important Design London Wednesday, April 25, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Robert Chevalier, Épinal
    Thence by descent
    Private collection, France, 1970s
    Private collection
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Léopold Diego Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank, Paris, 1997, illustrated pp. 92-93
    Anne Bony, Les Années 30 d'Anne Bony, Paris, 2005, armchairs illustrated p. 750
    Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank : l’étrange luxe du rien, Paris, Éditions Norma, 2006, armchairs illustrated pp. 120-121

  • Catalogue Essay

    The present lot was designed by Jean-Michel Frank for the living room of industrialist and textile producer Robert Chevalier, whose residence Frank completed in 1927. Located in the town of Épinal, the residence featured many elements of a traditional Georges-Eugène Haussmann style building, such as extensive roof space and courtyard. The project constitutes one of only a few Frank worked on in collaboration with other architects and designers; notably, in this case, the young Jean Prouvé, godson of Chevalier, who was entrusted with designing doors and windows for the building.

    The commission came with some explicit requests from Chevalier. His love for modern art was to be fully expressed within the interiors, so Frank’s predication for minimalism and austerity was moderately restrained in the client's favour towards bespoke furnishings more fitting to his sensibilities. The living room, the original location of the present lot, featured works of art from Chevalier’s collection by Marie Laurencin, which Frank paired with pale fabric-covered walls, carpet, and seating in a soft beige upholstery. This suite, from which only two of the armchair’s remain, was designed and exclusively produced for the Chevalier interior and is to be considered amongst ‘the most notable designs’ by Frank conceived for the commission (Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute-Monde in the Art Deco Period, New York, 2006, p. 122).

  • Artist Biography

    Jean-Michel Frank

    French • 1895 - 1941

    Working in Paris, New York and Argentina, Jean-Michel Frank designed subtle, exquisitely proportioned furniture and lighting for sophisticated interiors. His elite roster of patrons included the vicomte Charles de Noailles, the businessman and politician Nelson A. Rockefeller, the couturier Elsa Schiaparelli and the perfumer Guerlain, among many others. Against the backdrop of the interwar period, Frank designed calm, subdued interiors that offered refuge from the chaotic world. His furniture, which was often clad in vellum, bleached leather or shagreen, featured clean lines and served to complement the art collections of his clients, which included works by Picasso, Léger and Matisse.

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Unique canapé and pair of armchairs, designed for Robert Chevalier, Épinal

circa 1927
Brazilian rosewood, fabric.
Canapé: 95 x 149 x 86 cm (37 3/8 x 58 5/8 x 33 7/8 in.)
Each armchair: 96 x 84.2 x 80.5 cm (37 3/4 x 33 1/8 x 31 3/4 in.)

Produced by Chanaux & Company, Paris, France. Together with a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Jean-Michel Frank.

£80,000 - 120,000 

Sold for £87,500

Contact Specialist
Madalena Horta e Costa
Head of Sale
+44 20 7318 4019

Important Design

London Auction 26 April 2018