• Important 20th Century Decorat auction at Christies

    Sale 2369

    Important 20th Century Decorative Art & Design Including Property from The Collection of Max Palevsky

    15 December 2010, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 383

    JEAN-MICHEL FRANK (1895-1941)


    Price Realised  


    JEAN-MICHEL FRANK (1895-1941)
    A Leather and Wrought-Iron Armchair, circa 1925
    35½ in. (90.3 cm.) high, 27 in. (68.5 cm.) wide, 25 in. (63.5 cm.) deep

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Ignazio Pirovano was the founder and head of the National Museum of Decorative Art in Buenos Aires and the most important designer in the country. In 1932, he founded the furniture company Comté to produce and represent Jean-Michel Frank's and other European designers in the South American market. The two had met when Pirovano lived in Paris in the early 1930s and were part of the same social circles. In Paris, in the 1920s and 30s, the wealthy and artistic South American expatriate community was, for Frank, a source of numerous friends and expatriate community was, as well as a link to South America itself. In the winter of 1939-40, when the growing threats of German persecution convinced him to abandon Paris, Frank chose to settle in Buenos Aires before moving to New York. In both Paris and South America, Pirovano was one of the many well connected people with whom Frank spent his time. The furniture Pirovano produced for him at Comté helped meet the demands of Frank's many South American clients. Additionally, the two worked together on several important projects such as the Llao-Llao Hotel in Bariloche which was entirely furnished with pieces designed by Frank and produced by Comté. In the 1950s, Pirovano contacted Le Corbusier to possibly become the editor of his works. Despite several meetings no deal was ultimately struck. Comté flourished until the mid-1960s, and finally closed after Ignazio Pirovano's death.
    The here offered armchair was part of the furnishings of Ignazio Pirvano's country estate and possibly predates the Comté era. After his return to Buenos Aires in 1932, Pirovano had ordered furniture from Jean-Michel Frank's atelier for his prominent clients in Buenos Aires and possibly also for his own use. It is conceivable that this armchair is part of this earlier French production.

    cf. P.-E. Martin-Vivier, Jean-Michel Frank. The Strange and Subtle Luxury of the Parisian Haute-Monde in the Art Deco Period, New York, 2008, pp. 124, 125, 204, 310 for other chairs and variant designs of
    this model.
    L.D. Sanchez, Jean-Michel Frank, Paris, 1997, p. 116, pp. 220-221
    for illustrations of this model.

    This lot is accompanied by a certificate from the Comité Jean-Michel


    Ignazio Pirovano, Pirovano, Argentina.