René Herbst - Modern Masters London Tuesday, April 26, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Provenance

    René Herbst, 4 Rue de Chateaubriand, Paris, 1949
    Thence by descent
    Marie de Beyrie, Paris
    Stephane and Catherine de Beyrie, New York
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, New York, 1999

  • Exhibited

    'la maison de rené herbst, prototypes and rare pieces by rené herbst from 1925 to 1949', Galerie de Beyrie, 29 September-25 November, 1999

  • Literature

    Solange Goguel, René Herbst, Paris, 1990, p. 117 for a drawing, illustrated pp. 135, 323 for the desk in situ
    Yvonne Brunhammer, Le Mobilier Français 1930-1960, Paris, 1997, illustrated pp. 132-33 for the desk in situ
    Catherine and Stéphane de Beyrie, la maison de rené herbst, exh. cat., Galerie de Beyrie, New York, 1999, p. 13 for a drawing, illustrated pp. 16-17

  • Catalogue Essay

    René Herbst was a skilled architect and decorator who cannot be confined to a single category. His passionate temperament, fervent curiosity and pragmatic character set a cornerstone in the history of 20th century design. He reacted fiercely against the status quo of decorative arts, heir of the ‘arts and crafts’ tradition, and defended the need of adapting it to the possibilities of the post-war industry.

    “The forms denatured because of the superfluous decorations should be substituted for useful and functional forms. We should advocate for the truth, the simplicity and the coherence. Renovate the lifestyle of the French people, liberating them from a conservative and old-fashioned environment in creating a Universe best adapted to the world by using the new techniques.” (Manifesto U.A.M., 1934)

    In 1929 Herbst founded the ‘Union des Artistes Modernes’, together with renowned architects and designers such as Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand and Jean Prouvé. He rapidly became the theorist of the movement, encouraging a form of design that responds to real human needs, connecting aesthetic and industry.

    This desk is a unique piece produced for the designer’s own apartment in Rue de Chateaubriand, Paris, and is an outstanding example of Herbst's aim for adapting furniture to real human needs without neglecting beauty and aesthetics.


Unique desk, from the architect’s residence, Rue de Chateaubriand, Paris

Mahogany, painted wood, perforated painted steel, nickel.
73 x 223.5 x 128.8 cm (28 3/4 x 87 7/8 x 50 3/4 in.)
Together with an inset wastepaper basket.

£20,000 - 30,000 Ω

Sold for £20,000

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

Modern Masters

London Auction 27 April 2016