JEAN PROUVE (1901-1984)
JEAN PROUVE (1901-1984)
JEAN PROUVE (1901-1984)
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JEAN PROUVE (1901-1984)
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JEAN PROUVE (1901-1984)

A Rare Stool, model no. 306

JEAN PROUVE (1901-1984)
A Rare Stool, model no. 306
executed by Les Ateliers Jean Prouvé, Maxéville, pressed and painted aluminium, painted steel, original leather, with metal clips, original padding.
16 ½ x 18 x 15 in. (42 x 46 x 38 cm.)
Designed and executed circa 1952-1953

‘ … the first shaped seats. I modelled the shape myself (in wood) and down in my garage I had a
dozen aluminium seats like that… It’s very attractive. Charlotte Perriand made a lot of use of it.’

Private Collection, New Jersey.
Closely related examples illustrated:
A. Delorenzo, Two metal workers: Jean Prouvé, Serge Mouille, exh. cat., New York, DeLorenzo, 1985 (example with variant base and upholstered seat illustrated, p. 69).
J. Perrin (ed.), Jean Prouvé: constructeur 1901-1984, exh. cat., Nancy, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy, 2001, p. 97, no. 106 (variant with tubular legs).
P. Sulzer, Jean Prouvé, l’oeuvre complète 1944-1954, vol. 3, Basel 2005, p. 256, no. 1237.k, pp. 256-257 (other variants illustrated).
L. Bergerot, P. Seguin (eds.), Jean Prouvé, Paris 2007, vol. 1, p. 71; vol. 2, pp. 317, 321, 324, 325 and 505 (an advertisement of the Atelier Jean Prouvé illustrating a stool, variant with tubular legs).
M. Roy (ed.), A passion for Jean Prouvé. From furniture to architecture: The Laurence and Patrick Seguin Collection, Turin 2013(archive images and design drawing of the present model illustrated, pp. 130-131).
S. Cattaneo Adorno (ed.), Calder/Prouvé, exh. cat., Paris, Gagosian Gallery & Galerie Patrick Seguin, 2013, p. 133 (variant with tubular legs).
Special notice
These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale using a Temporary Import regime. Import VAT is payable (at 5%) on the Hammer price. VAT is also payable (at 20%) on the buyer’s Premium on a VAT inclusive basis. When a buyer of such a lot has registered an EU address but wishes to export the lot or complete the import into another EU country, he must advise Christie's immediately after the auction.

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Jeremy Morrison
Jeremy Morrison

Lot Essay

The stool is that most elemental, universal and ancient of all furniture types. Reputedly introduced to Europe by the Norsemen of the
Byzantine Varangian Guard, by the late medieval period the stool had been supplanted in most European cultures by the chair. The
fascination for tribal and primitive art that so inspired many artists around the dawn of the twentieth century naturally evolved to embrace furniture designers and decorators, and by the mid-1920s the totemic qualities of the stool, often of African or Graeco-Roman inspiration, was an essential feature of the fashionable interiors created by Armand Albert Rateau, Pierre Legrain, André Groult and others of the Parisian avant-garde. During this same inter-war period, a new generation of progressive architects and designers – led by Le Corbusier – reacted by celebrating the utilitarianism, simplicity and humble beauty of anonymous folk furniture, of which the ubiquitous milking stool, that could be found in every French farmyard, was a universal example. This Duchampian spirit, to acknowledge the resonance of the ready-made or found-object, summoned easy appeal both from Charlotte Perriand,
whose own stools were elegantly rounded revisions of the traditional milking stool, and with Jean Prouvé – whose unique prototypic tractorseat drafting-stool of 1948 reveals an engaging spirit of bricolage. Around 1948-1954 Prouvé designed several variations for stools, most of which employed a seat ergonomically modelled from thin aluminium. A variety of different bases were experimented with, however, none appear to have been produced or retailed in any quantity. Eventually, from 1952-1953, many of these aluminium seats were to be installed in the lecture theatres of the University of Aix-Marseille.

The present stool is a rare example that features tapering folded-steel legs, with two legs at front and one at rear, and corresponds to a circa 1952 photograph, described in Sulzer’s reference (op. cit. 1237.k., pp.256) as a prototype, of design drawing 555592, 1953. The present stool is additionally enhanced by the retention of the original padding, and bottle-green leather slip-cover, secured by metal clips, that is referenced by design drawing 185615 headed ‘University of Paris, student restaurant, stool, variant.’

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