Jean-Michel Frank - Design London Thursday, May 12, 2022 | Phillips

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  • The present armchairs were designed by Jean-Michel Frank for the living room of industrialist and textile producer Robert Chevalier, whose residence Frank completed in 1927. Chevalier was married to Geneviève Gallé, the fourth daughter of the renowned glass artist Emile Gallé. Located in the town of Épinal, France, the residence featured many elements of a traditional Haussmann style building, such as extensive roof space and a 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's wife, who was entrusted with designing doors and windows for the building.


    This unique 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 armchairs, 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 armchairs 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.

    The present armchairs in the living room of Robert Chevalier’s residence, Épinal, France Photo: Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: l’Etrange Luxe du Rien, Paris, 2006
    The present armchairs in the living room of Robert Chevalier’s residence, Épinal, France
    Photo: Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: l’Etrange Luxe du Rien, Paris, 2006
    • Provenance

      Robert Chevalier, Épinal
      Thence by descent
      Private Collection, France, circa 1970
      Hôtel Drouot auction, Paris, 1984
      Acquired from the above
      Ferri & Associés, Paris, ‘Tableaux Anciens et Modernes, mobilier et objects d’art’, 4 December 2013, lot 288
      Galerie Marchilhac, Paris, acquired from the above
      Phillips, London, ‘Important Design’, 26 April 2018, lot 34
      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, illustrated p. 750
      Pierre-Emmanuel Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank: L’Étrange Luxe du Rien, Paris, 2006, illustrated pp. 120, 121

    • 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 pair of armchairs, from the residence of Robert Chevalier, Épinal

circa 1927
Brazilian rosewood, fabric.
Each: 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.

Full Cataloguing

£15,000 - 20,000 

Sold for £17,640

Contact Specialist

Antonia King

Head of Sale, Design
+44 20 7901 7944


London Auction 12 May 2022