Serge Mouille - Design New York Tuesday, December 7, 2021 | Phillips
  • In the early 1950s, in an attempt to modernize French lighting design, Serge Mouille created an entire range of lights that utilized the same materials, colors, and forms from model to model. Not only did this standardize his production but it also created a distinct aesthetic characterized by black painted metal forms that were at once organic yet also dramatic. Describing this look, the designer said, “I always need to include an accident in a direction in order to break a line and give it an aggressive quality.” Though the present model is more sinuous in form than many of his lamps, it still exhibits this “accident in direction” that the designer described—particularly in the way the shade appears to float away from the steel disc base. 
    "I always need to include an accident in a direction in order to break a line and give it an aggressive quality."
    —Serge Mouille 
    Mouille designed the present lamp model for the student bedrooms at the Cité Universitaire d’Antony. Archival records from the designer’s atelier indicate that the university placed 296 orders for this lamp in 1955. The final products were delivered in two installments over the following year. Purportedly, sixty examples survive from this period. Mouille produced the present model in two variants. In the model’s first iteration, the neck of the lamp met the shade in a simple ball-and-socket brass joint. In the second iteration—as seen in the present example—the painted steel tube is slightly longer and is bent at its top to create a right angle where the joint is located. This variant allowed for greater flexibility in the shade’s movement and direction. The lamp is one of five primary desk lamp forms for which the designer is most often remembered and reflects Mouille’s ingenuity and radical modernization of French lighting design in the 1950s.


    Bedroom at the Cité Universitaire d’Antony, featuring the present model table lamp as well as an “Antony” chair and a “Semi-Metal” chair by Jean Prouvé, both also included in the present sale. 
    • Provenance

      Likely acquired from DeLorenzo 1950, New York, by the present owner, circa 1991

    • Literature

      Pierre Émile Pralus, Serge Mouille: A French Classic, un classique français, Saint Cyr au Mont d’Or, 2006, pp. 91, 122, 133, 205

Property from a Private East Coast Collection


Pair of "Antony" desk lamps

circa 1955
Painted steel, painted aluminum, brass.
Each: 17 in. (43.2 cm) high
Manufactured by Atelier Serge Mouille, Paris, France.

Full Cataloguing

$12,000 - 18,000 

Sold for $32,760

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New York Auction 7 December 2021