2 Small Oeuf (=Egg) Chairs by Jean Royère

2 Small Oeuf (=Egg) Chairs by Jean Royère

Jean Royère

Pair of small Oeuf (= Egg) chairs, 1951
Oak, fabric (2). Each: 24 1/2 in. (62.2 cm.) high
ESTIMATE $50,000-70,000

LITERATURE Catherine and Stephane de Beyrie and Jacques Ouaiss, Jean Royère, New York, 2000, illustrated p. 59

The ovum is the seat of human life and the largest cell in the body. Jean Royère flipped the egg and sat the body in it. He first exhibited his small ‘Oeuf’ chairs at the 1954 Salon des Arts Ménagers in Paris, although they had incubated since 1951. Two halves faced each other across his ‘Foyer d’aujourd’hui’. He placed a low ‘Puddle’ table between them like a spilt yolk. In Jean Royère (Galerie de Beyrie, 2000), Michael Boyd wrote: “There is a serious sculptural content imbued—but there is a playful, even humorous side, too.” Simply put, Royère cracked a good joke. ‘Polar Bears’, ‘Elephants’, ‘Bananas’—he enlivened his furniture with surrealist good humor. But Boyd is right, Royère modeled in the round. His ‘Sculpture Furniture’ (1955), overstuffed forms raised on turned oak legs, hatched from his ‘Oeufs’. Of all the Gallic roosters, Royère fluffed his feathers highest. His elaborate upholstery and exaggerated lines best reflected the buoyant mood of the postwar years. In the mid-1950s, attendance at the Salon des Arts Ménagers routinely surpassed a million. It’s hard to imagine Pierre Paulin, Verner Panton, and the rest of the flock weren’t aware of his cupped seats—especially Arne Jacobsen whose own ‘Egg’ chair (the present Lot 116) followed in 1958.

Update: Sold at $124,900

Via Phillips de Pury & Company

Last edited by Guido J. van den Elshout on December 22, 2011 at 12:45 AM

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