Luis Barragán - Design New York Friday, November 13, 2009 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Casa Eduardo Prieto López, Fuentes 180, Jardines del Pedregal de San Ángel, Mexico City, Mexico

  • Literature

    José M. Buendía Júlvez, ed., Luis Barragán, Mexico, 2001, pp. 128 and 131 for examples from a larger set of chairs; Raul Rispa, ed., Barragán: The Complete Works, New York, 2003, illustrated pp. 124-126; Yutaka Saito, Luis Barragán, Tokyo, 2004, illustrated p. 184; Yutaka Saito, Casa Barragán, Tokyo, 2004, illustrated pp. 107-108

  • Catalogue Essay

    Architects hew a tough life, hard as stone. ‘I experimented with creating paths through hostile rock,’ said Luis Barragán in an interview with Elena Poniatowska (Diario Novedades, November 1976). But he wasn’t speaking about an onerous career (he won the Pritzker Prize in 1980). He was referring to the lava fields of Pedregal de San Ángel on the southwestern edge of Mexico City. The site was formed by the eruption of Xitle, a nearby volcano, in the late 4th century. Despite the harsh terrain, Barragán developed a residential neighborhood there in the mid-1940s in consultation with painter Diego Rivera. Barragán envisioned Pedregal as a humane development which celebrated rather than compromised the landscape: single storey houses; private gardens; public plazas tucked among the outcroppings. Giò Ponti, who visited the site, described Pedregal as a “poetic ensemble akin to a Japanese garden designed on a human scale.” (Domus, no. 280, March 1953, p. 18)
    From 1948 to 1952, Barragán built and furnished a house at Pedregal for the family of Eduardo Prieto López, a prominent lawyer and businessman. Comprised of planar surfaces and layered volumes, the house (and its furniture) referenced the simplicity and functional rigor of both European modernism and Mexican domestic architecture. As Danièle Pauly has mentioned, Barragán was ‘seduced’ by the vernacular houses of his country, their volumes amplified by shadowed porticos, interior courtyards, and austere walls (Barragán, 2002, p. 23). ‘What I am interested in is applying the meaning of traditional architecture to modern buildings,’ he stated (Modo, no. 45, 1981, pp. 20-23). That meant modulating modernism’s cold geometry with emotional aesthetics—vibrant colors on the walls of the house, local woods for the furniture—as both an expression of spare functionalism and a celebration of Mexican culture.   



Breakfast table and six dining chairs

Table: sabino; chairs: sabino, leather.
Table: 29 3/8 x 80 3/4 x 46 3/4 in. (74.6 x 205.1 x 118.7 cm.); each chair: 36 in. (91.4 cm.) high
Table frame and underside of top each impressed with “LUIS BARRAGAN CASA PRIETO 1952” and each chair impressed with “LUIS BARRAGAN CASA PRIETO 1950” and “1 / 26,” “3 / 26,” “4 / 26,” “5 / 26,” “6 / 26,” and “8 / 26” respectively (7).

$60,000 - 80,000 


14 Nov 2009
New York