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Jean Prouvé Furniture

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.

Iconic Designs from Jean Prouvé
Explore timeless pieces that have earned their place in history.
Standard Chair
Standard Chair
Compas Direction Desk
Compas Direction Desk
Fauteuil Direction
Fauteuil Direction
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Creator:Jean Prouvé
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Jean Prouvé Cité Desk, circa 1950
By Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
A great example of a Cité desk by Jean Prouvé, and manufactured by Ateliers Jean Prouvé, circa 1950.
Category

20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

Materials

Steel

Jean Prouvé & Jules Leleu Bed from the Martel de Janville Sanatorium, circa 1936
By Jules Leleu, Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

Materials

Enamel, Steel, Upholstery, Oak

Jean Prouvé, Bed No.17, circa 1935
By Jean Prouvé, Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

Materials

Steel

Architectural Wall Panel by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

Mid-20th Century French Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

Materials

Metal

Architectural Wall Panel by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

Mid-20th Century French Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

Materials

Metal

Jean Prouvé, Set of 8 'Semi-Metal' Chairs, circa 1950
By Jean Prouvé, Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

Materials

Metal

Jean Prouvé Marcoule Bench from the CEA, Marcoule, circa 1954
By Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
An beautiful example of a "Marcoule" bench by Jean Prouvé from the CEA Building, Marcoule (one of France's Pioneer nuclear facilities), circa 1954. Manufactured by Ateliers Jean Prouvé.
Category

20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

Materials

Enamel, Steel

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Jean Prouvé, Set of 8 'Semi-Metal' Chairs, circa 1950
By Jean Prouvé, Jean Prouvé
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Metal

Jean Prouvé, Bed No.17, circa 1935
By Jean Prouvé, Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
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Steel

Jean Prouvé & Jules Leleu Bed from the Martel de Janville Sanatorium, circa 1936
By Jules Leleu, Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
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Enamel, Steel, Upholstery, Oak

PIERRE JEANNERET Desk from the Administrative Building of Chandigarh
By Pierre Jeanneret
Located in Brooklyn, NY
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Architectural Wall Panel by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
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Architectural Wall Panel by Jean Prouvé
By Jean Prouvé
Located in Brooklyn, NY
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Georges Jouve, Pitcher, circa 1955
By Georges Jouve
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

Mid-20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

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Ceramic

Charlotte Perriand and Pierre Jeanneret Bibliotheque, circa 1954
By Pierre Jeanneret
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

20th Century French Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

Materials

Wood

Le Corbusier, Rare LCII Wall Lamps, circa 1954
By Le Corbusier
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

20th Century Indian Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

George Nakashima, Free-Form Slab Coffee Table, circa 1960
By George Nakashima, George Nakashima
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

Mid-20th Century American Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

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Walnut

Pierre Jeanneret Rare Folding Easy Chairs from Chandigarh, circa 1960
By Pierre Jeanneret
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

20th Century Indian Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

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Cane, Teak

Pierre Jeanneret, Set of Six V-Leg Armchairs from Chandigarh, circa 1955
By Pierre Jeanneret
Located in Brooklyn, NY
Category

20th Century Indian Mid-Century Modern Jean Prouvé Furniture

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Teak

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