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  • Provenance

    Punjab University, Chandigarh
    Private collection, France
    Phillips, New York, "Design," June 12, 2008, lot 86
    Acquired from the above by the present owner

  • Literature

    Eric Touchaleaume and Gerald Moreau, Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, The Indian Adventure: Design-Art-Architecture, Paris, 2010, pp. 368, 370-72, 580

  • Catalogue Essay

    Dining tables set the stage for elaborate public displays and the design of a chair can speak volumes about the person seated in it, but perhaps no other furniture form broadcasts the principles and values of its owner more than the library table, the focal point of a room that represents knowledge, education, and culture. To this end, William Henry Vanderbilt, the son of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, commissioned an elaborately carved and inlaid library table from Herter Brothers (now in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art) dripping with symbols of his power and prestige. About twenty years later, Gustav Stickley designed an entirely different version, his leather-topped, hexagonal library table, model no. 625, which featured exposed joinery in keeping with the Arts and Crafts credo of honest craftsmanship, and which he included in his own residence, Craftsman Farms, in Morris Plains, New Jersey.

    Half a century later, Pierre Jeanneret was tasked with designing the furniture for the administrative and university buildings of the city of Chandigarh, the newly-formed capital of Punjab, for which his cousin Le Corbusier served as master city planner. The princely states having been dissolved following Indian independence, Le Corbusier envisioned Chandigarh as a modernist utopia for the people of the region. In keeping with Le Corbusier's modernist program, Jeanneret created solid, minimal designs that were beautiful yet functional, drawing on local materials and craftsmen for the execution of his designs.

    While Vanderbilt and Stickley's library tables were luxury products, albeit in very different ways, the present illuminated reading table is design with a social conscience, created to serve a large population. Through an economy of means that emphasizes form and surface over ornament, Jeanneret achieved his own elegant interpretation of what a library table can represent.

115

Illuminated reading table, model no. PJ-TAT-10-B, designed for the Assembly and the University Library, Chandigarh

1963-1966
Teak-veneered wood, teak, opaque glass, painted steel, painted aluminum.
46 1/4 x 96 5/8 x 48 5/8 in. (117.5 x 245.5 x 123.5 cm)

Estimate
$100,000 - 150,000 

Contact Specialist

[email protected]
+1 212 940 1268

Design

New York Auction 6 June 2019