LAMA BLOG

Peter’s Auction Picks of the Day: French Design

The popularity of mid-century French design shows no sign of abating. During the 1950s, architects and designers began incorporating postwar innovations in technology and developments in everyday materials into their avant-garde designs. This aesthetic has become increasingly popular among collectors in recent years and so we are delighted to present a number of outstanding examples in the March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction.

 

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Georges Jouve, Sconces (2), executed c. 1955
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

At the heart of this group is a unique pair of wall sconces from c. 1955 by leading ceramicist Georges Jouve. Jouve worked in Paris until the Second World War when he managed to escape to his stepparents’ home in the south of France. Fascinated by the traditional ceramics produced by local potters, he began to experiment with making his own pieces. He soon found widespread success for his luxurious creations in Paris, encompassing vases, bowls, lamps and tables. The pair of wall sconces in this sale are typical of Jouve’s work, with their elegant, curved forms and layers of matte glazes, creating a dense, opaque effect. The asymmetrical form of each sconce, carefully employing alternating solids and voids, suggests the influence of Japanese art. This piece is a classic example of the designer’s work, with its rich palette of block colors, including turquoise, yellow, red, and black.

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Serge Mouille, Two-arm wall appliqué, designed 1954
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

This mid-century masterpiece is complimented by another outstanding light fixture, the two-arm wall appliqué designed by Serge Mouille in 1954. This French industrial designer is renowned for his elegant light fittings. Originally trained as a goldsmith, Mouille exploited his in-depth knowledge of metals to create simple, functional designs. This angular piece is no exception, featuring fully articulated arms, which allow the light to be maneuvered in multiple directions. It is said that the form of his shades were inspired by the shape of the female body. This refined, minimal piece will fit seamlessly in any interior.

 

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Pierre Jeanneret, Easy armchairs from Chandigarh (2), Designed c. 1955
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

The pair of easy armchairs by Pierre Jeanneret represents another exquisite piece of French design. Designed c. 1955, they were created for the interiors of the Chandigarh city commission in India, a project led by the iconic architect—and Jeanneret’s cousin—Le Corbusier. Himself an acclaimed architect and designer, Jeanneret’s work is characterized by its practicality and stripped-back aesthetic. These chairs embody his artisanal skills, comprising sturdy teak and cane built to resists insects and humidity. With their relaxed form and exquisite craftsmanship, these pieces possess an enduring elegance.

 

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Pablo Picasso, Wood-owl, Madoura, 1969
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

 

Los Angeles Modern Auctions (LAMA)

Pablo Picasso, Woman-faced Wood-Owl, Madoura, 1952
March 5, 2017 Modern Art & Design Auction

This selection of objects is rounded off by the delightful set of ceramics by Pablo Picasso, produced between the 1950s and 1960s at Madoura Pottery in Vallauris, while the artist lived in the south of France. They include some of Picasso’s most distinctive pieces, the owl-shaped vases: Woman-faced wood-owl (1952) and Wood-owl (1969). The owl is thought to be a reference to classical mythology, symbolizing the sacred bird of Athena, the goddess of wisdom. Also, it is a real depiction of an actual owl that lived around the artist’s studio. With their bold lines and whimsical forms, these striking pieces epitomize the artist’s playful approach to his later work.

Lot Information:

Lot 125
Georges Jouve
Sconces (2)
Studio, executed c. 1955
Each with etched signature and artist’s cipher
Each: 45.25″ x 18.75″ x 7.25″ (including shades)
LAMA would like to thank Jousse Entreprise for their gracious assistance in cataloguing this work
Provenance: The artist; Thence by descent; Galerie Jousse Seguin, Paris, France; Private Collection, Atlanta, Georgia (acquired directly from the above, c. 1998)
Estimate: $40,000 – $60,000

Lot 126
Serge Moille
Two-arm wall appliqué
Atelier Serge Mouille, Designed 1954
Atelier Serge Mouille
24″ x 50″ (dimensions variable)
Provenance: Galerie Jousse Seguin, Paris, France; Private Collection, Atlanta, Georgia (acquired directly from the above, c. 1997)
Literature:  Serge Mouille: A French Classic. P. Emile Pralus. 2006. 170.
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

Lot 127
Pierre Jeanneret
Easy armchairs from Chandigarh (2)
Designed c. 1955
Model no. PJ-SI-29-A
Studio
One marked “St. C./25”; other marked “St. C./19″
28.75″ x 24.75″ x 20.25″; 27.5″ x 24.5″ x 20.25”
LAMA would like to thank Galerie Patrick Seguin for their gracious assistance in cataloguing these pieces
Provenance: Galerie Patrick Seguin, Paris, France; Private Collection, Los Angeles, California (acquired directly from the above, 2006)
Literature:  Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret: The Indian Adventure, Design-Art-Architecture. G. Moreau and E. Touchaleaume. 2011. 563.
Estimate: $10,000 – $15,000

Lot 111
Pablo Picasso
Wood-owl
Madoura, 1969
Turned vase of white earthenware clay, decoration in engobes engraved by boring-rod under partial brushed glaze
#138 of 350
Bears the inscription “Edition Picasso” with edition, and “Edition Picasso” and “Madoura Plein Feu” stamps to underside
12″ x 6.25″ x 9.5″
Ramié #602
Literature:  Pablo Picasso: Catalogue of the Edited Ceramic Works 1947-1971. A. Ramié. 1988. #602.
Estimate: $9,000 – $12,000

Lot 113
Pablo Picasso
Woman-faced wood-owl
Madoura, 1952
Turned vase of white earthenware clay, decoration in oxides, knife engraved on white enamel
#99 of 300
Bears the inscription “Edition Picasso” with edition, and “Edition Picasso” and “Madoura Plein Feu” stamps to underside
11″ x 6″ x 9″
Ramié #144
Literature:  Pablo Picasso: Catalogue of the Edited Ceramic Works 1947-1971. A. Ramié. 1988. #144.
Estimate: $7,000 – $9,000

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