JEAN ROYÈRE (1902-1981)
JEAN ROYÈRE (1902-1981)
JEAN ROYÈRE (1902-1981)
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JEAN ROYÈRE (1902-1981)
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ADAM: Works from the Collection of Adam Lindemann
JEAN ROYÈRE (1902-1981)

'Ours Polaire' Sofa and Pair of Armchairs, circa 1952

JEAN ROYÈRE (1902-1981)
'Ours Polaire' Sofa and Pair of Armchairs, circa 1952
painted beech, original mohair fabric upholstery
sofa: 30 5/8 x 94 x 54 1/4 in (77.8 x 238.8 x 137.8 cm)
each armchair: 27 1/2 x 38 1/2 x 37 3/4 in (69.9 x 97.8 x 95.9 cm)
one armchair with plastic label printed JEAN ROYÈRE
Madame Lebon, Chantilly, acquired directly from the artist
Galerie Downtown François Laffanour, Paris
Private Collection, 2000
The Collector: Icons of Design, Phillips, New York, 16 December 2014, lot 26
Acquired from the above by the present owner
“Aménagements officiels et installations privées par Jean Royére,” Mobilier Décoration, no. 7, Paris, October 1951, pp. 22-23
“La Résidence Française,” Art et Industrie, no. 8, June 1947, p. 20
Jean Royère: Décorateur à Paris, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, exh. cat., Paris, 2000, pp. 9-10, 12, 16, 25, 41, 60, 62-63, 70-72, 76, 78, 80, 115, 122-123, 125, 151, 161, 163 and 165
P. Favardin, Les Décorateurs des années 50, Paris, 2002, pp. 72 and 334
P. E. Martin-Vivier, Jean Royère, Paris, 2002, pp. 35, 45, 143, 210-211, 226-232, 233 (for an illustration of the present lot), 238, 241 (for an illustration of the present armchair), 247, 266, 285
J. Lacoste and P. Seguin, Jean Royère, vol. 1, Paris, 2012, pp. 6-7, 26, 30-34, 46, 67-68, 75, 80-81, 94-107, 126-127, 158, 160, 162-163, 172, 192, 218, 250, 266
J. Lacoste and P. Seguin, Jean Royère, vol. 2, Paris, 2012, pp. 6, 42-43, 46-47, 82-83 (for a sketch of the suite), 274 (sketch of the armchair)
P.E. Martin-Vivier, Jean Royère, Paris, 2017, pp. 15, 35, 50-51, 157, 218-219, 234-240, 241 (for an illustration of the suite), 246, 254, 257, 269, 278, 300 and frontispiece
Sale room notice
Please note the original commission of this suite was for Madame Lebon, Chantilly, and not ‘Leblon’ as originally stated.

Brought to you by

Julian Ehrlich
Julian Ehrlich Associate Vice President, Specialist, Head of Post-War to Present Sale

Lot Essay

Truly iconic designs of the twentieth century embody the ability to defy preconceived notions or conventional concepts. No further is this evident than in Jean Royère’s (1902-1981) most recognized design the ‘Ours Polaire’, or ‘polar bear’, suite of furniture.

Originally on a career path in business, Royère broke from a predestined future fostered by his father and became an interior designer in his late 20’s. He began as an apprentice furniture maker in Paris, 1931, learning from renown cabinetmakers of the Parisian guild. Highly influenced by the great designers of Art Deco France, such as Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann and Eugène Printz, Royère found beauty in the enduring silhouettes of designs of the 1920s. It was this technical exploration that led to a strong understanding of architecture and structural design, along with his appreciation for the history of decorative arts, that Royère mastered not only function but also allowed him to bestow his inevitable genius of original form.

Royère first showcased his own designs at the Salon d’Automne, Paris, in 1934 which established him within an elite circle of Parisian furniture makers. Royère considered the entirety of an interior when approaching design. It was at the Salon des Artistes Decorateurs of 1942 that Royère was a sensation displaying a mastery in utilizing a variety of material to express his creativity, and by the 32nd Salon in 1946, Royere showcased a dining room furnished with the ‘Ondulation’ series – tables and chairs supported by undulating metal tubes and suspended metal ball.

“The secret of good decoration lies in its absence, or rather in its extreme simplicity”
- Jean Royère

The present lot, the ‘Ours Polaire’, was designed in 1947 for his family apartment on the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, Paris. The brilliance of the ‘Ours Polaire’, originally known as ‘Boule’ (ball), is the seemingly endless curvatures and lines. With nods to a conventional chair, the ‘Ours Polaire’ armchair for example serves its function as a seat however with occupied armrests and the voluminous space between the sitter and the floor, all elements of structure are obscured underneath mass with an upholstery of sensual plush.

Royère designed with joy in mind, ensuring that all senses were to be appreciated in the exploration of furnishings. The comfort both of the body and the hand, with the respite one experiences upon taking a seat and the feeling of caressing soft upholstery. As is most desired, the present lot maintains the original materials use, including the celery-green mohair upholstery sourced from Italy in 1952.

“If they are well thought out, the form and volume of a piece of furniture will survive.”
- Jean Royère

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