PIERRE CHAREAU (1883-1950)
Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s F… Read more PROPERTY FROM AN IMPORTANT PRIVATE AMERICAN COLLECTIONPIERRE CHAREAUAn independent and distinctive figure, Pierre Chareau escapes any precise categorisation. Embedded in Art Deco by his love of exotic materials and woods – makassar ebony, mahogany, rosewood, palm, amaranth, ivory and parchment – and his insistence on quality and sophistication, he was quick to try to escape an aesthetic closely associated with the long history of the decorative arts.Even though he built little, he was intrinsically an architect. For him there was hardly any difference between the design of a building and that of a piece of furniture, save a question of scale. He saw space as a whole, to which the furniture contributed. It was not, for him, a matter of interior decor, but of interior architecture.Chareau had a relatively short career, which developed mainly between 1919 and the early thirties, gaining true recognition with his participation in the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, in Paris in 1925, for which he designed the office of a French Embassy – now in the Paris Musée des Arts Décoratifs, together with the staffroom of this embassy.The effects of the 1929 financial crash led to a slowdown in his business, while the advent of Nazism caused the gradual departure of a number of his clients, who had often become friends – for Chareau worked mainly for entire families and circles of acquaintances, recommended by one to another. He delayed following the example of a number of his commissioning clients and supporters and only went into exile late in the day, in 1940, to New York, where he died ten years later without really having been able to give his career a second wind. He no longer had the means to develop his ideas in close collaboration with highly qualified craftsmen, as he had been able to do in Paris. The brilliantly talented blacksmith Louis Dalbet would play a vital role for Pierre Chareau. Their great collaboration allowed Pierre Chareau to develop his extremely innovative and distinctive aesthetic vision. He liked to play with the contrast of materials and colors and create a dialogue between the warm tones of wood and forged metal, the deep black patina of the iron or steel counterbalancing the rich nuances of the wood, while enhancing its color, texture and grain.But these years, during which Chareau gave the best of himself, were sufficient to ensure the posterity of his work. It is a permanent and superlative part of the history of 20th century furniture and architecture, in which he was a major figure in the years 1920-1930. At a crossroads he was at once a representative of great knowledge and expertise in the richness of French decorative arts, not just as a member of the Société des Artistes Décorateurs, but also as one of the flag bearers of the Modern Movement that he upheld.He gave his support to the Union des Artistes Modernes [Union of Modern Artists] founded in 1929 – notably under the aegis of Robert Mallet-Stevens, René Herbst, Francis Jourdain, Hélène Henry – of which he became a member a year later in 1930. A planner above all, he designed an interior as a ‘machine for living’ where the occupant ’s functional and spiritual needs are catered to in a concomitant and balanced way for his or her well-being.On his death his close friends paid him a magnificent tribute, dedicating a work whose title defined him per fectly: Un inventeur : L’Architecte Pierre Chareau, published in 1954. Francis Jourdain wrote the introduction, depicting him as a man of the avant-garde and a poet, a rebel against all preconceived ideas.His first independent project was the interior design in 1919 of the apartment of the young doctor, Jean Dalsace and his wife Annie Bernheim, in Boulevard Saint-Germain. They would remain loyal to him and would become his principal commissioning clients, entrusting him 9 years later with the design and construction of what would be his masterpiece, Maison de Verre (1928-1932), today a legendary testament to modernity and the originality of his ideas.
PIERRE CHAREAU (1883-1950)


PIERRE CHAREAU (1883-1950)
walnut, gold varnished metal, leather upholstery
each 32 in. (81.3 cm.) high
Jean-Claude Brugnot, Paris;
Barry Friedman Ltd, New York;
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1984.
For other examples of this model:
M. Vellay, Pierre Chareau, Architecte- Meublier 1883-1950, Paris,
1986, pp. 83, 314;
B.B. Taylor, Pierre Chareau: Designer and Architect, Köln, 1992,
pp. 52, 66;
Exhibition catalogue, Pierre Chareau: architecte, un art intérieur,
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1993, p. 127;
Exhibition catalogue, Pierre Chareau, Modern Architecture and
Design, The Jewish Museum, New York, 2016, p. 55.
Special notice

Please note this lot will be moved to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services (CFASS in Red Hook, Brooklyn) at 5pm on the last day of the sale. Lots may not be collected during the day of their move to Christie’s Fine Art Storage Services. Please consult the Lot Collection Notice for collection information. This sheet is available from the Bidder Registration staff, Purchaser Payments or the Packing Desk and will be sent with your invoice.
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