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Jean Prouvé

Jean Prouvé (France, 1901-1984)

Engineer and metalsmith, self-taught designer and architect, manufacturer and teacher, Jean Prouvé was a key force in the evolution of 20th-century French design, introducing a style that combined economy of means and stylistic chic. Along with his frequent client and collaborator Le Corbusier and others, Prouvé, using his practical skills and his understanding of industrial materials, steered French modernism onto a path that fostered principled, democratic approaches to architecture and design.

     Prouvé was born in Nancy, a city with a deep association with the decorative arts. (It is home, for example, to the famed Daum crystal manufactory.) His father, Victor Prouvé, was a ceramist and a friend and co-worker of such stars of the Art Nouveau era as glass artist Émile Gallé and furniture maker Louis Majorelle. Jean Prouvé apprenticed to a blacksmith, studied engineering, and produced ironwork for such greats of French modernism as the architect Robert Mallet-Stevens. In 1931, he opened the firm Atelier Prouvé. There, he perfected techniques in folded metal that resulted in his “Standard” chair (1934) and other designs aimed at institutions such as schools and hospitals.

     During World War II, Prouvé was a member of the French Resistance, and his first post-war efforts were devoted to designing metal pre-fab housing for those left homeless by the conflict. In the 1950s, Prouvé would unite with Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret (Le Corbusier’s cousin) on numerous design projects. In 1952, he and Perriand and artist Sonia Delaunay created pieces for the Cité Internationale Universitaire foundation in Paris, which included the colorful, segmented bookshelves that are likely Prouvé’s and Perriand’s best-known designs. The pair also collaborated on 1954’s “Antony” line of furniture, which again, like the works on these pages, demonstrated a facility for combining material strength with lightness of form.

     Prouvé spent his latter decades mostly as a teacher. His work has recently won new appreciation: in 2008 the hotelier Andre Balazs purchased at auction (hammer price: just under $5 million) the Maison Tropicale, a 1951 architectural prototype house that could be shipped flat-packed, and was meant for use by Air France employees in the Congo. Other current Prouvé collectors include Brad Pitt, Larry Gagosian, Martha Stewart, and the fashion designer Marc Jacobs. The rediscovery of Jean Prouvé — given not only the aesthetic and practical power of his designs, but also the social conscience his work represents — marks one of the signal “good” aspects of collecting vintage 20th century design. An appreciation of Jean Prouvé is an appreciation of human decency.

Jean Prouvé Guéridon Bas Coffee Table in Natural Oak for Vitra
Jean Prouvé Guéridon Bas Coffee Table in Natura...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary French Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cockt...
Steel, Wood
Jean Prouvé Guéridon Bas coffee table in natural oak for Vitra. Designed in 1944, the Guéridon Bas is an early masterpiece by the French designer and engineer Jean Prouvé. Due to the...
"Les Lits" Jean Prouvé by Steph Simon Editions Booklet Print
"Les Lits" Jean Prouvé by Steph Simon Editions ...
Steph Simon, Jean Prouvé
Vintage 1950s French Mid-Century Modern Prints
Paper
Booklet Print of the "Les lits" - daybeds - of Jean Prouvé. Published by Steph Simon Editions in 1956. Printed on the front in black on transparent paper. In good original con...
Vitra Compas Direction Desk in Oak and Coffee by Jean Prouvé
Vitra Compas Direction Desk in Oak and Coffee b...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Desks
Steel, Oak
The slender, elegantly splayed metal legs of the Compas Direction desk by Jean Prouvé call to mind the hinged arms of a compass – ‘le compas’ in French. Their design is based on engi...
Vitra Compas Direction Desk in Oak and Chocolate by Jean Prouvé
Vitra Compas Direction Desk in Oak and Chocolat...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Desks
Steel, Oak
The slender, elegantly splayed metal legs of the Compas Direction desk by Jean Prouvé call to mind the hinged arms of a compass – ‘le compas’ in French. Their design is based on engi...
Vitra Compas Direction Desk in Oak & Japanese Red by Jean Prouvé
Vitra Compas Direction Desk in Oak & Japanese R...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Desks
Steel, Oak
The slender, elegantly splayed metal legs of the Compas Direction desk by Jean Prouvé call to mind the hinged arms of a compass – ‘le compas’ in French. Their design is based on engi...
Vitra Feuteuil Direction in Dark Gray and Basalt by Jean Prouvé
Vitra Feuteuil Direction in Dark Gray and Basal...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Armchairs
Twill, Steel
Fauteuil Direction is especially suited for dining room seating or as an armchair in home offices. The design reflects Jean Prouvé's characteristic aesthetic vocabulary, which is bas...
Vitra Feuteuil Direction in Dark Gray and Chocolate by Jean Prouvé
Vitra Feuteuil Direction in Dark Gray and Choco...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Armchairs
Twill, Steel
Fauteuil Direction is especially suited for dining room seating or as an armchair in home offices. The design reflects Jean Prouvé's characteristic aesthetic vocabulary, which is bas...
Vitre EM Table in Smoked Oak & Coffee by Jean Prouvé
Vitre EM Table in Smoked Oak & Coffee by Jean P...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Dining Room Tables
Steel, Oak
The aesthetic appearance of Jean Prouvé's EM table adheres to structural principles, illustrating the flow of forces and stresses in its construction. It comes in a range of sizes wi...
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Olive & Ecru by Jean Prouvé
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Olive & Ecru by Jean...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Plastic
Made of high quality plastic, the seat shell and backrest of the Standard SP (Siège en Plastique) chair by Jean Prouvé are available in a range of contemporary colors. This gives the...
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Teak Brown and Mint by Jean Prouvé
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Teak Brown and Mint ...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Plastic
Made of high quality plastic, the seat shell and backrest of the Standard SP (Siège en Plastique) chair by Jean Prouvé are available in a range of contemporary colors. This gives the...
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Teak Brown and Japanese Red by Jean Prouvé
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Teak Brown and Japan...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Plastic
Made of high quality plastic, the seat shell and backrest of the Standard SP (Siège en Plastique) chair by Jean Prouvé are available in a range of contemporary colors. This gives the...
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Warm Grey and Coffee by Jean Prouvé
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Warm Grey and Coffee...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Plastic
Made of high quality plastic, the seat shell and backrest of the Standard SP (Siège en Plastique) chair by Jean Prouvé are available in a range of contemporary colors. This gives the...
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Basalt and Deep Blac...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Plastic
Made of high quality plastic, the seat shell and backrest of the Standard SP (Siège en Plastique) chair by Jean Prouvé are available in a range of contemporary colors. This gives the...
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Deep Black and Basal...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Plastic
Made of high quality plastic, the seat shell and backrest of the Standard SP (Siège en Plastique) chair by Jean Prouvé are available in a range of contemporary colors. This gives the...
Vitra Standard SR Chair in Canola and Deep Blac...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Steel
The Standard SR (siège rembourré), the chair has an upholstered seat and backrest. The design of Standard SR illustrates the static weight loads at play in a manner that typifies the...
Vitra Standard SP Chair in Lemon & Chocolate by...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Plastic
Made of high quality plastic, the seat shell and backrest of the Standard SP (Siège en Plastique) chair by Jean Prouvé are available in a range of contemporary colors. This gives the...
Vitra Feuteuil Direction in Ink Blue & Chocolat...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Armchairs
Steel, Twill
Fauteuil Direction is especially suited for dining room seating or as an armchair in home offices. The design reflects Jean Prouvé's characteristic aesthetic vocabulary, which is bas...
Vitra EM Table in Oak & Deep Black by Jean Prouvé
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Dining Room Tables
Steel, Oak
The aesthetic appearance of Jean Prouvé's EM Table adheres to structural principles, illustrating the flow of forces and stresses in its construction. It comes in a range of sizes wi...
Vitra EM Table in Ivory HPL and Deep Black by J...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Dining Room Tables
Laminate, Steel
The aesthetic appearance of Jean Prouvé's EM table adheres to structural principles, illustrating the flow of forces and stresses in its construction. It comes in a range of sizes wi...
Vitra EM Table in Asphalt HPL and Coffee by Jea...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Dining Room Tables
Laminate, Steel
The aesthetic appearance of Jean Prouvé's EM Table adheres to structural principles, illustrating the flow of forces and stresses in its construction. It comes in a range of sizes wi...
Vitra Tabouret Solvay Stool in Smoked Oak by Je...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Stools
Oak
Tabouret Solvay bears the unmistakable signature of Jean Prouvé, reflecting an aesthetic based on structural requirements. The sturdy stool is available in natural oak, dark smoked o...
Vitra Tabouret Haut Bar Stool in Natural Oak by...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Stools
Oak
For the design of Tabouret Haut, Jean Prouvé drew on a traditional type of bar stool that is still in common use today: a thin round seat resting on top of four long, canted legs. A ...
Vitra Tabouret Solvay Stool in American Walnut ...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Stools
Walnut
Tabouret Solvay bears the unmistakable signature of Jean Prouvé, reflecting an aesthetic based on structural requirements. The sturdy stool is available in natural oak, dark smoked o...
Vitra Tabouret Haut Bar Stool in Dark Oak by Je...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Stools
Oak
For the design of Tabouret Haut, Jean Prouvé drew on a traditional type of bar stool that is still in common use today: a thin round seat resting on top of four long, canted legs. A ...
Vitra Tabouret Solvay Stool in Natural Oak by J...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Stools
Oak
Tabouret Solvay is a simple, robust stool made of solid wood that reveals the designer’s signature at first glance: its clear structural principles can be found throughout the work o...
Vitra Flavigny Table in American Walnut Oak by ...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Tables
Walnut
The aesthetic charm of Table Flavigny, which is now being reintroduced by Vitra as an elegant dining table, lies in the contrast between the domestic character of the solid wood top...
Vitra Standard Chair in Natural Oak and Black b...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Metal
Chairs take the most stress on their back legs, where they bear the weight of the user‘s upper body. The engineer, architect and designer Jean Prouvé incorporated this simple insight...
Vitra Standard SR Chair in Iron Grey and Deep B...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Steel
The standard SR (siège rembourré), the chair has an upholstered seat and backrest. The design of Standard SR illustrates the static weight loads at play in a manner that typifies the...
Vitra Standard Chair in Dark Oak & Japanese Red...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Metal
Chairs take the most stress on their backlegs, where they bear the weight of the user‘s upper body. The engineer, architect and designer Jean Prouvé incorporated this simple insight ...
Vitra Standard Chair in Natural Oak and Japanes...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Metal
Chairs take the most stress on their backlegs, where they bear the weight of the user‘s upper body. The engineer, architect and designer Jean Prouvé incorporated this simple insight ...
Vitra Standard SR Chair in Indigo and Deep Blac...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Steel
The Standard SR (siège rembourré), the chair has an upholstered seat and backrest. The design of Standard SR illustrates the static weight loads at play in a manner that typifies the...
Vitra Trapèze Table in Black by Jean Prouvé
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Tables
Wood
Like the Antony chair, the Trapèze table was originally developed for the Cité Universitaire in Antony near Paris and numbers among the final pieces created by the French‚ 'construct...
Vitra Standard Chair in Natural Oak & Coffee by...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Metal
Chairs take the most stress on their backlegs, where they bear the weight of the user‘s upper body. The engineer, architect and designer Jean Prouvé incorporated this simple insight ...
Vitra Standard Chair in Dark Oak & Ecru by Jean...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Metal
Chairs take the most stress on their backlegs, where they bear the weight of the user‘s upper body. The engineer, architect and designer Jean Prouvé incorporated this simple insight ...
Vitra Standard Chair in Dark Oak and Black by J...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Chairs
Metal
Chairs take the most stress on their backlegs, where they bear the weight of the user‘s upper body. The engineer, architect and designer Jean Prouvé incorporated this simple insight ...
Vitra Guéridon Table in Smoked Oak by Jean Prouvé
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Tables
Wood
The wooden table Guéridon, which was produced by the designer and engineer Jean Prouvé for the University of Paris, is a convincing demonstration of clear structural principles. It i...
Vitra Guéridon Table in Natural Oak by by Jean...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Tables
Wood
The wooden table Guéridon, which was produced by the designer and engineer Jean Prouvé for the University of Paris, is a convincing demonstration of clear structural principles. It i...
Vitra Guéridon Table in American Walnut Oak by...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Tables
Wood
The wooden table guéridon, which was produced by the designer and engineer Jean Prouvé for the University of Paris, is a convincing demonstration of clear structural principles. It i...
Vitra EM Table in Oak & Ecru by Jean Prouvé
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Dining Room Tables
Steel, Oak
The aesthetic appearance of Jean Prouvé's EM Table adheres to structural principles, illustrating the flow of forces and stresses in its construction. It comes in a range of sizes wi...
Vitra Flavigny Table in Smoked Oak by Jean Prouvé
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Tables
Oak
The aesthetic charm of table Flavigny, which is now being reintroduced by Vitra as an elegant dining table, lies in the contrast between the domestic character of the solid wood top...
Vitra Flavigny Table in Natural Oak by Jean Prouvé
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Tables
Oak
The aesthetic charm of table Flavigny, which is now being reintroduced by Vitra as an elegant dining table, lies in the contrast between the domestic character of the solid wood top...
Jean Prouvé Compas Direction Desk in Natural Oa...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary French Mid-Century Modern Desks and Writin...
Wood, Steel
Jean Prouvé Compas Direction Desk in Natural Oak and Black Metal for Vitra. Originally designed in 1953, Prouvé's iconic desk is based the design on the structural principles for whi...
Vitra Table Solvay in American Walnut by Jean P...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Dining Room Tables
Walnut
Jean Prouvé developed table Solvay during the Second World War and due to the scarcity of metal at that time, he designed the elegant piece with wooden legs. The solid wood component...
Vitra Cité Armchair in Beige Upholstery with Ec...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Armchairs
Steel, Upholstery
Designed for a competition to furnish the student residence halls at the Cité Universitaire in Nancy, the Cité armchair is one of Jean Prouvé‘s early masterpieces. Prouvé himself use...
Vitra Table Solvay in Natural Oak by Jean Prouvé
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Dining Room Tables
Oak
Jean Prouvé developed Table Solvay during the Second World War and due to the scarcity of metal at that time, he designed the elegant piece with wooden legs. The solid wood component...
Vitra Table Solvay in Smoked Dark Oak by Jean P...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Dining Room Tables
Oak
Jean Prouvé developed table Solvay during the Second World War and due to the scarcity of metal at that time, he designed the elegant piece with wooden legs. The solid wood component...
Vitra Fauteuil De Salon Armchair in Beige with ...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Armchairs
Steel, Upholstery, Wood
Developed by Jean Prouvé, the Fauteuil de Salon is a typical example of the distinctive structural aesthetic of his designs. The armchair's understated character suits a wide variety...
Vitra Fauteuil de Salon Armchair in Cognac with...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Armchairs
Steel, Upholstery, Wood
Developed by Jean Prouvé, the Fauteuil de Salon is a typical example of the distinctive structural aesthetic of his designs. The armchair's understated character suits a wide variety...
Vitra Fauteuil de Salon Armchair in Black by Je...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Armchairs
Steel, Upholstery, Wood
Developed by Jean Prouvé, the Fauteuil de Salon is a typical example of the distinctive structural aesthetic of his designs. The armchair's understated character suits a wide variety...
Vitra Cité Armchair in Black Upholstery by Jean...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Armchairs
Steel, Upholstery
Designed for a competition to furnish the student residence halls at the Cité Universitaire in Nancy, the Cité armchair is one of Jean Prouvé‘s early masterpieces. Prouvé himself use...
Vitra Cité Armchair in Beige Upholstery with Re...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary Swiss Modern Armchairs
Steel, Upholstery
Designed for a competition to furnish the student residence halls at the Cité Universitaire in Nancy, the Cité armchair is one of Jean Prouvé‘s early masterpieces. Prouvé himself use...
Cité Chair designed by Jean Prouvé, Row Office ...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra, G-Star RAW
Vintage 1930s Dutch Modern Lounge Chairs
Steel, Leather, Fabric
Originally designed in 1930, this short production Row Office edition Cité chair was a collaboration with the Prouvê family, G-Star and Vitra. Featuring special color markings on the...
Side Table by Jean Prouvé and Jules Leleu
Jules Leleu, Jean Prouvé, Atelier Jean Prouvé
Vintage 1930s French Side Tables
Sheet Metal
Side table in metal tube entirely lacquered in red-blood color. Furniture designed in 1934-35 for the sanatorium of Guébriant and sponsored by the French Army to the architects Ab...
Jean Prouvé Guéridon Bas Coffee Table in Walnut...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary French Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cockt...
Steel, Wood
Jean Prouvé Guéridon Bas coffee table in walnut for Vitra. Designed in 1944, the Guéridon Bas is an early masterpiece by the French designer and engineer Jean Prouvé. Due to the wart...
Jean Prouvé Compas Direction Desk in Natural Oa...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary French Mid-Century Modern Desks and Writin...
Steel, Wood
Jean Prouvé compas direction desk in natural oak and Japanese red metal for Vitra. Originally designed in 1953, Prouvé's iconic desk is based the design on the structural principles ...
Jean Prouvé Guéridon Bas Coffee Table in Smoked...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary French Mid-Century Modern Coffee and Cockt...
Steel, Wood
Jean Prouvé guéridon bas coffee table in smoked oak for Vitra. Designed in 1944, the guéridon bas is an early masterpiece by the French designer and engineer Jean Prouvé. Due to the ...
Jean Prouvé Compas Direction Desk in Natural Oa...
Jean Prouvé, Vitra
21st Century and Contemporary French Mid-Century Modern Desks and Writin...
Steel, Wood
Jean Prouvé Compas Direction desk in natural oak and Ecru white metal for Vitra. Originally designed in 1953, Prouvé's iconic desk is based the design on the structural principles fo...
Jean Prouvé Swing Jib Wall Light from Air Franc...
Jean Prouvé
Mid-20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Wall Lights and Sconces
Steel
A very special and rare African jib lamp by Jean Prouvé with exemplary provenance from Immeuble Air France, Dakar, c. 1950's
Ten Aluminium Architectural Panels by Jean Prouvé
Jean Prouvé
Mid-20th Century French Modern Architectural Elements
Aluminum
Prefabricated, "flat" aluminium roof panels from an architectural project by Jean Prouvé. Manufactured by Ateliers Jean Prouvé. Ten available in various heights, approximat...
Jean Prouvé Flavigny Table with Stone Top
Jean Prouvé
20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Dining Room Tables
Steel, Limestone
Rare and Early "Flavigny" table by Jean Prouvé with folded sheet steel legs and tubular understructure. Limestone top. Literature: Peter Sulzer, "Jean Prouvé Complete Works Vol 2:...
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