CHARLOTTE PERRIAND (1903-1999)
CHARLOTTE PERRIAND (1903-1999)
CHARLOTTE PERRIAND (1903-1999)
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CHARLOTTE PERRIAND (1903-1999)
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Artist's Resale Right ("droit de Suite"). If the … Read more In February 1940 Europe was at war, everything was scarce and Charlotte Perriand was living in a precarious situation as orders seemed to dry up. The designer was still brooding on her political disagreements with Le Corbusier, when she received a telegram from another disciple of the Swiss master, Junzo Sakakura, who had taken refuge in his country of origin: “We want to invite you to become Design Consultant for the Decorative Arts at the Ministry of Commerce. Salary 100,000 francs per annum. Fees. Travel expenses. Await detailed response in letter. Sakura.” The unexpected telegram gave her the opportunity to visit a country, which had for a long time held a particular fascination for her. Charlotte Perriand accepted, a fact celebrated in letter in the form of a ribbon, 8.3 metres long, received on the 13th of March and entirely calligraphed by the illustrator, Shikoku Munakata. On 15 June 1940 she boarded the Hakusan Maru and set off for Kobe. During the weeks of the voyage France capitulated and the architect made the acquaintance of some Japanese nationals. However, nothing had prepared her for the shock of her arrival. She wrote, "At the time, arriving in Japan was like arriving on the Moon." As soon as she had disembarked, the architect requested that she be allowed to travel the country from the major cities to the most remote villages. The technical skills of the Japanese craftsmen astonished her. She carried a tape measure with her wherever she went and measured the very precise dimensions and relationships of scale, which regulated Japanese spaces and objects. She noted with fascination the links with and differences from the Modulor in Le Corbusier's studio. To accompany her in her wanderings the Minister detached a young assistant, Sōri Yanagi, the future great Japanese industrial designer and son of Sōetsu Yanagi, the philosopher and founder of the Mingei movement ("popular art movement"). Sōri Yanagi took Charlotte Perriand to the Japanese Folk Crafts Museum, to the creation of which his father had contributed. There she discovered objects in accordance with the theory of Mingei, which advocates revalorisation of the hand-crafted art of ordinary people capable of producing honest pieces, of a fine aesthetic and technical quality, without for all that, being luxurious. In these objects Charlotte saw the perfect contrast to the grotesque Japanese artwork produced for export and the large-scale industrialisation of poor quality pieces already under way in the West. The designer organised one conference after another, held countless conversations with the Japanese craftsmen and designers, bidding them not to copy objects from the West. However, she conceived the idea of a major exhibition, which took only six months to set up. In March 1941 in the Takashiyama department stores, the first in Japan to offer a furnishing department, the first Charlotte Perriand exhibition, Contribution à l’équipement intérieur de l’habitation, Japon 2601. Sélection, tradition, création. was held. The exhibition was critically acclaimed and created relationships between pictures, photographs, ceramics and furniture. The objects of the people were displayed with the same care as tables by masters, which did not fail to cause a certain stir. In this exhibition Perriand also presented her own creations, in particular sets in bamboo, the ultimate traditional Asiatic material. In these pieces it was worked so that all its technical qualities emerged in modern compositions and lines. Finally the war caught up with Charlotte and in 1942 she had to flee to Indochina. In 1953 Charlotte Perriand finally returned to Japan, where she rejoined her husband, who had been appointed Director of the Regional Office of Air France in Tokyo. There she discovered her husband's staff accommodation, a traditional Japanese house, still empty, which had to be turned into an exhibition and living space. She designed the plan for this large low table for her new home. This sculptural piece is the direct descendant of her first free form table created in 1938. As in 1938, the asymmetric and shapely design of the table top give scope for forming the unexpected empty spaces, so essential for the artist. Thank to the free form, the designer transfigures furniture into functional sculptures, the features of which are often inspired by a pebble or the outline of a branch found in nature. Making better use of the Japanese craftwork she so admired, she called on the Miyoshi Mokko studio to produce this low table, which insinuates itself into a space designed for height. The Japanese studio chose only local species, the Hinoko cypress and the Manchurian walnut, assembled in the pure Japanese tradition, by means of screw feet, perfectly adjusted without any metal elements. The object seems to respond to the principles stipulated by the artist: modern in shape, traditional in the technique implemented, with irreproachable aesthetics, which never tend to the ostentatious. In 1955 Charlotte Perriand followed up her 1941 exhibition with another landmark event, Proposition d'une Synthèse des arts, Paris, 1955. Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Charlotte Perriand. The fruit of long years of reflection, it is a homage to Japan, proposing a meeting between two cultures. As in the 1941 exhibition, the decorative arts are accompanied by paintings and engravings, in particular by Le Corbusier and Soulages. Placed in the centre of the lounge, our example stands on a two-coloured rug, which emphasises its pure lines. The architect, Yoshinobu Yoshiwara, although critical of the exhibition, could not help commenting, "It is a sculptural object. And I think that Perriand's works of this type are extraordinary." Our piece then became part of several major exhibitions on the work of Perriand, the last of which was the Le monde nouveau de Charlotte Perriand exhibition in Paris in 2019-2020, organised by the Louis Vuitton Foundation.
CHARLOTTE PERRIAND (1903-1999)

'En forme' low table

Details
CHARLOTTE PERRIAND (1903-1999)
'En forme' low table
hinoki cypress and Manchurian walnut
14 5/8 x 78 ½ x 45 5/8 in. (38 x 199.5 x 116 cm.)
(3)Designed circa 1953 for the house of Jacques Martin and Charlotte Perriand in Tokyo and executed in 1954 by the Miyoshi Mokko workshop.
Provenance
Sogetsu Ikebana school, Tokyo, Japan, 1958
François Laffanour-Galerie Downtown, Paris, France
Acquired from the above by the present owner
Literature
J. Barsac, Charlotte Perriand. Un art d'habiter, Paris, 2005, p. 401 (illustrated in color).
J. Barsac, Charlotte Perriand et le Japon, Paris, 2008, pp. 229 (illustrated in color), 235 (illustrated in color) and 237 (illustrated in color).
J. Barsac, Charlotte Perriand. L'oeuvre complète. Volume 2. 1940-1955, Paris, 2015, pp. 443 (illustrated in color), 467 (illustrated in color), 471 (illustrated in color) and 488 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Tokyo, Proposition d'une Synthèse des arts, Paris, 1955. Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Charlotte Perriand, Tokyo, 1955.
Kamakura, the Museum of modern art, October 2011-January 2012, Hiroshima city museum of contemporary art, January-March 2012, Tokyo, Meguro museum of art, April-June 2012, Charlotte Perriand et le Japon, pp. 170, no. 245 (illustrated in color), 192, no. 299 (illustrated).
Saint-Étienne, Musée d'art moderne de Saint-Etienne Métropole, Charlotte Perriand, l’aventure japonaise, February-May 2013, pp. 151 (illustrated in color), 154-155 (illustrated in color), 156 (illustrated in color), 163 (illustrated in color) and 165 (illustrated).
Paris, Fondation Louis Vuitton, Le monde nouveau de Charlotte Perriand, Paris, October 2019-February 2020, p. 405 (illustrated) and 424 (quoted).
Special notice

Artist's Resale Right ("droit de Suite"). If the Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer also agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.
This item will be transferred to an offsite warehouse after the sale. Please refer to department for information about storage charges and collection details.
These lots have been imported from outside the EU for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5,5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.
Post lot text
This lot will be sold with a modern rug recreating the one presented with the table at the Proposition d'une synthèse des arts exhibition.

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Etienne Sallon

Lot Essay

In February 1940 Europe was at war, everything was scarce and Charlotte Perriand was living in a precarious situation as orders seemed to dry up. The designer was still brooding on her political disagreements with Le Corbusier, when she received a telegram from another disciple of the Swiss master, Junzo Sakakura, who had taken refuge in his country of origin: “We want to invite you to become Design Consultant for the Decorative Arts at the Ministry of Commerce. Salary 100,000 francs per annum. Fees. Travel expenses. Await detailed response in letter. Sakura.” The unexpected telegram gave her the opportunity to visit a country, which had for a long time held a particular fascination for her. Charlotte Perriand accepted, a fact celebrated in letter in the form of a ribbon, 8.3 metres long, received on the 13th of March and entirely calligraphed by the illustrator, Shikoku Munakata.

On 15 June 1940, she boarded the Hakusan Maru and set off for Kobe. During the weeks of the voyage France capitulated and the architect made the acquaintance of some Japanese nationals. However, nothing had prepared her for the shock of her arrival. She wrote, "At the time, arriving in Japan was like arriving on the Moon" (Charlotte Perriand quoted in J. Barsac, Charlotte Perriand, L’œuvre complète, Volume 2. 1940-1955, Paris, 2015, p. 23). As soon as she had disembarked, the architect requested that she be allowed to travel the country from the major cities to the most remote villages. The technical skills of the Japanese craftsmen astonished her.

She carried a tape measure with her wherever she went and measured the very precise dimensions and relationships of scale, which regulated Japanese spaces and objects. She noted with fascination the links with and differences from the Modulor in Le Corbusier's studio. To accompany her in her wanderings the Minister detached a young assistant, Sori Yanagi, the future great Japanese industrial designer and son of Soetsu Yanagi, the philosopher and founder of the Mingei movement ("popular art movement"). Sori Yanagi took Charlotte Perriand to the Japanese Folk Crafts Museum, to the creation of which his father had contributed. There she discovered objects in accordance with the theory of Mingei, which advocates revalorisation of the hand-crafted art of ordinary people capable of producing honest pieces, of a fine aesthetic and technical quality, without for all that, being luxurious. In these objects Charlotte saw the perfect contrast to the grotesque Japanese artwork produced for export and the large-scale industrialisation of poor quality pieces already under way in the West.

The designer organised one conference after another, held countless conversations with the Japanese craftsmen and designers, bidding them not to copy objects from the West. However, she conceived the idea of a major exhibition, which took only six months to set up. In March 1941 in the Takashiyama department stores, the first in Japan to offer a furnishing department, the first Charlotte Perriand exhibition, Contribution à l’équipement intérieur de l’habitation, Japon 2601. Sélection, tradition, création. was held. The exhibition was critically acclaimed and created relationships between pictures, photographs, ceramics and furniture. The objects of the people were displayed with the same care as tables by masters, which did not fail to cause a certain stir. In this exhibition Perriand also presented her own creations, in particular sets in bamboo, the ultimate traditional Asiatic material. In these pieces it was worked so that all its technical qualities emerged in modern compositions and lines. Finally the war caught up with Charlotte and in 1942 she had to flee to Indochina.

In 1953 Charlotte Perriand finally returned to Japan, where she rejoined her husband, who had been appointed Director of the Regional Office of Air France in Tokyo. There she discovered her husband's staff accommodation, a traditional Japanese house, still empty, whichs had to be turned into an exhibition and living space. She designed the plan for this large low table for her new home. This sculptural piece is the direct descendant of her first free form table created in 1938. As in 1938, the asymmetric and shapely design of the table top give scope for forming the unexpected empty spaces, so essential for the artist.

Thank to the free form, the designer transfigures furniture into functional sculptures, the features of which are often inspired by a pebble or the outline of a branch found in nature. Making better use of the Japanese craftwork she so admired, she called on the Miyoshi Mokko studio to produce this low table, which insinuates itself into a space designed for height. The Japanese studio chose only local species, the Hinoko cypress and the Manchurian walnut, assembled in the pure Japanese tradition, by means of screw feet, perfectly adjusted without any metal elements. The object seems to respond to the principles stipulated by the artist: modern in shape, traditional in the technique implemented, with irreproachable aesthetics, which never tend to the ostentatious. In 1955 Charlotte Perriand followed up her 1941 exhibition with another landmark event, Proposition d'une Synthèse des arts, Paris, 1955. Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger, Charlotte Perriand.

The fruit of long years of reflection, it is a homage to Japan, proposing a meeting between two cultures. As in the 1941 exhibition, the decorative arts are accompanied by paintings and engravings, by Le Corbusier and Soulages. Placed in the centre of the lounge, our example stands on a two-coloured rug, which emphasises its pure lines. The architect, Yoshinobu Yoshiwara, although critical of the exhibition, could not help commenting, "It is a sculptural object. And I think that Perriand's works of this type are extraordinary" (Yoshinobu Yoshiwara quoted in J. Barsac, Charlotte Perriand, L’œuvre complète, Volume 2. 1940-1955, Paris, 2015, p. 474).

Our piece then became part of several major exhibitions on the work of Perriand, the last of which was the Le monde nouveau de Charlotte Perriand exhibition in Paris in 2019-2020, organised by the Louis Vuitton Foundation.



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