Luis Barragán - Design Evening New York Thursday, December 13, 2018 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    Egerstrom family, Atizapán de Zaragoza, Mexico City, circa 1966
    Thence by descent to the present owner

  • Literature

    Antonio Riggen Martínez, Luis Barragán: Mexico's Modern Master, 1902-1988, New York, 1996, p. 215
    Federica Zanco, ed., Luis Barragán: The Quiet Revolution, Milan, 2001, pp. 9, 215
    Lily Kassner, Chucho Reyes, Mexico City, 2001, p. 125

  • Catalogue Essay

    Since its completion in the late 1960s, Luis Barragán’s Cuadra San Cristóbal has featured prominently in the imagination of disciples of 20th century modern architecture. Its extraordinarily photogenic vistas of pink and earth-tone walls, sculpted trees, and horses cooling off in the fountain, are unforgettable images. Yet photographs rarely capture the true vastness of the courtyard and the ranch is an even more magical experience in real life than these iconic images suggest it to be. Barragán’s spaces and graphic compositions demand to be captured in a frame, while at the same time provoking an emotional response that cannot ever be fully described in two dimensions.

    In recent years the Cuadra San Cristóbal has been the site of contemporary art installations and fashion advertising campaigns. With that exposure has come revived interest, and the current owners have graciously opened its gates to increasing numbers of visitors. It has steadily become the ultimate destination for architectural historians and influencers alike.

    Commissioned by Folke Egerstrom to design a home for his family of equestrians and their horses in the early 1960s, Barragán completed the Cuadra San Cristóbal in 1968, the same year as the Mexico City Summer Olympics. Barragán worked with his frequent collaborator Andreas Casillas on a plan for the family’s house; the grounds and the stables had already been completed. Notably, Barragán did not design the interior of the home, deferring to the family’s preference to create their own environment. And so the sole furnishings produced for this important project were from the “El Sillero” room at the far end of the stables, which was used to keep saddles and equipment, as well as for informal social gatherings. All of the furniture that Barragán had made for the room was delivered together in 1966, before the larger project was finished.

    The design of the stools undoubtably originates from a traditional Mexican “milking stool,” likely specific to the ranches of Guadalajara, Barragán’s birthplace. Scholarship on Barragán continues to develop in exciting ways, and his seating designs pose fascinating, and at times challenging, questions for historians. Some designs for chairs, particularly the more formal or upholstered examples, are considered solely his authorship, some were acquired readymade from local artisans, and others were most likely born of the kind of collaboration or points of influence that define his larger body of work. Barragán used the present model in various projects, perhaps most famously in his own home and studio. An early photograph of him at his drafting table shows him perched on a similar stool, and an example can be found in Casa Barragán, on the second floor in the sitting room adjacent to the guest room. Perhaps the earliest documentation of the form is in the home of one of his most frequent collaborators: the artist, antiquarian, collector and colorist, Jesus “Chucho” Reyes. It is possible that Reyes, or another member of Barragán’s circle, such as Clara Porset, might have influenced the design of these stools and other seating, given their shared interest in traditional Mexican furniture forms.

    Barragán’s collaborations with Casillas, Reyes and Porset as well as with other important figures, such as Mathias Goeritz and Ricardo Legorreta, played a crucial role in the creation of his greatest masterworks. His integrative approach to architecture and furniture design is also found in his merging of the vernacular, Catholicism and international style modernism. This unique formula is evident in the present pair of stools, with their familiar form in a proportion that could only have been drafted by an architect.

Property of Cristobal Egerstrom


Pair of stools from the Cuadra San Cristóbal, Mexico City

circa 1966
Undersides with markings in pencil.
Pine, leather.
Each: 18 x 18 1/4 x 14 in. (45.7 x 46.4 x 35.6 cm)

$20,000 - 30,000 

Sold for $30,000

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Design Evening

New York Auction 13 December 2018