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Paris Design Sales, May 2022 / Review

New records for Georges Jouves, Janette Laverrière and Jean Paulin; but Charlotte Perriand’s private collection failed to garner expected interest.

By Astrid Malingreau / 1st June 2022
Jean Royère, ‘Ours Polaire’ armchairs, circa 1947. (Christie’s Lot 105, estimate €400,000-600,000. Sold for €1,602,000) COURTESY: Jean Royère & © Christie’s Images Ltd. / PHOTOGRAPH: Anna Buklovska

Jean Royère, ‘Ours Polaire’ armchairs, circa 1947. (Christie’s Lot 105, estimate €400,000-600,000. Sold for €1,602,000)
COURTESY: Jean Royère & © Christie’s Images Ltd. / PHOTOGRAPH: Anna Buklovska

AFTER HOURS OF hammering the Paris auction sales ended on a positive note for both auction houses. 

Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’
The Sotheby’s sale totalled €24,618,000 (€19,902,000 hammer) for 184 lots, 13% above the total high estimate (€15,754,900), and was 91.85% sold at an average of 13% above high estimate.

These results rest mostly on the strong bronze arms of Diego Giacometti (24.4% for 51 lots) as well as on the shoulders of François-Xavier Lalanne (38.6% for 18 lots) and Claude Lalanne (24.4% for 51 lots).

Claude Lalanne, ‘Table carrée Singe et Lotus’, 2013. (Sotheby’s Lot 151, estimate €150,000-200,000. Sold for €453,600) COURTESY: Claude Lalanne & Sotheby’s

Claude Lalanne, ‘Table carrée Singe et Lotus’, 2013. (Sotheby’s Lot 151, estimate €150,000-200,000. Sold for €453,600)
COURTESY: Claude Lalanne & Sotheby’s

The good news is that the €4.6 millions (hammer price) brought by the Daniel Marchesseau collection will be donated to the Musée d’Orsay for its new research facility. 

In regard to the quality of works and provenances it was perhaps disappointing for Sotheby’s team not to see a new record for Diego Giacometti, particularly for the, most probably, unique ‘console aux oiseaux, aux feuilles et aux grenouilles’ (Lot 69, €2,455,000 – €2,000,000 hammer). But there were still some surprises such as a ‘Turtle Bench’ by Jean-Marc Fiori (Lot 113) that sold for €226,800 (€180,000 hammer) against an estimate of €20,000-30,000. 

Diego Giacometti, ‘Console aux oiseaux, aux feuilles et aux grenouilles’, circa 1972. (Sotheby’s Lot 69, estimate €1,000,000-1,500,000. Sold for €2,455,000) COURTESY: Diego Giacometti & Sotheby’s

Diego Giacometti, ‘Console aux oiseaux, aux feuilles et aux grenouilles’, circa 1972. (Sotheby’s Lot 69, estimate €1,000,000-1,500,000. Sold for €2,455,000)
COURTESY: Diego Giacometti & Sotheby’s

Christie’s ‘Design’
Christie’s sale, composed of 164 lots (3 lots were withdrawn) was 91.46% sold and totalled €19,436,730 (€16,746,000 hammer) against a high estimate of €12,135,200. This sale had a much more eclectic selection and the result was, according to the auction house press release, the highest ever achieved by Christie’s for a design various owner sale in Paris. 

Georges Jouve & Janette Laverrière, ‘Unique Forme Libre Dining Table’,1950. (Christie’s Lot 100, estimate €500,000-700,000. Sold for €1,062,000) COURTESY: Georges Jouve & Janette Laverrière & © Christie’s Images Ltd.

Georges Jouve & Janette Laverrière, ‘Unique Forme Libre Dining Table’,1950. (Christie’s Lot 100, estimate €500,000-700,000. Sold for €1,062,000)
COURTESY: Georges Jouve & Janette Laverrière & © Christie’s Images Ltd.

It was disappointing not to see a greater interest in the works from Charlotte Perriand’s private collection, which totalled €505,400 (hammer) against a total high estimate of €760,600. It is true that parts of it were architectural elements that might be more difficult to integrate in contemporary interiors but, generally speaking, her work attracted less interest. 

Charlotte Perriand & Jean Prouvé, ‘Brazza Cupboard’, 1951. (Christie’s Lot 3, estimate €100,000-150,000. Sold for €138,600) COURTESY: Charlotte Perriand & Jean Prouvé © Christie’s Images Ltd.

Charlotte Perriand & Jean Prouvé, ‘Brazza Cupboard’, 1951. (Christie’s Lot 3, estimate €100,000-150,000. Sold for €138,600)
COURTESY: Charlotte Perriand & Jean Prouvé © Christie’s Images Ltd.

But French mid-century design was still raising paddles and saw various new records achieved during the sale such as the Jean Royère ‘Ours Polaire’ sofa sold for €1,422,000 (Lot 104, hammer price €1,150,000, estimate €400,000-600,000) followed by a pair of ‘Ours Polaire’ armchairs which sold for €1,602,000 (Lot 105, hammer €1,300,000, estimate €400,000-600,000).  This represents a record in euros for a single lot, although, because of the current conversion rate, not in US dollars.

Jean Royère, ‘Ours Polaire’ sofa, circa 1947. (Christie’s Lot 104, estimate €400,000-600,000. Sold for €1,422,000) COURTESY: Jean Royère & © Christie’s Images Ltd. / PHOTOGRAPH: Anna Buklovska

Jean Royère, ‘Ours Polaire’ sofa, circa 1947. (Christie’s Lot 104, estimate €400,000-600,000. Sold for €1,422,000)
COURTESY: Jean Royère & © Christie’s Images Ltd. / PHOTOGRAPH: Anna Buklovska

The record for Jean Paulin was also broken with the sale of the famous ‘Elysée’ sofa which sold for €252,000 (Lot 144, hammer price €200,000, estimate €50,000-70,000) and the elegant table ‘forme libre’ by Georges Jouves and Janette Laverrière (1950) set a new record for both artists as it was sold for €1,062,000 (Lot 100, hammer price €850,000, estimate €500,000-700,000). In all, it was an encouraging outcome before New York Design week. 

Pierre Paulin, 'Elysée' sofa, 1972. (Lot 144, estimate €50,000-70,000. Sold for €252,000) COURTESY: Pierre Paulin & © Christie’s Images Ltd. / PHOTOGRAPH: Anna Buklovska

Pierre Paulin, ‘Elysée’ sofa, 1972. (Lot 144, estimate €50,000-70,000. Sold for €252,000)
COURTESY: Pierre Paulin & © Christie’s Images Ltd. / PHOTOGRAPH: Anna Buklovska

Sotheby’s ‘Important Design’ sale, Paris, 24th May 2022.

Christie’s ‘Design’ sale, Paris, 25th May 2022.

Article by Astrid Malingreau
Article by Astrid Malingreau
Astrid Malingreau is an independent advisor focused on 20th century contemporary design. She previously worked for Christie's in London and New York as a specialist in decorative arts and design. View all articles by Astrid Malingreau