Wonderful prototype 'Elephant' chaise designed by French artist Bernard Rancillac in 1966. The highly stylised 'elephant' form is created in fibre glass and is supported on an enameled wrought iron cradle base.
Examples can be found in the collections of the 'Musee des arts Decoratifs' in Paris (blue) and a white example at the Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum in New York among others.
According to the kind information provided to us by Michel Roudillon this example is one of the six pre production prototypes made by Roudillon in 1985 in order to check that the final form and colours of his artist authorised reedition of 100 individually numbered pieces conformed to those of the original 1966 Lacloche gallery edition.
Mr Roudillon confirmed that he had produced six of these pre production protoypes in total , they differ to the final edition of 100 numbered pieces in that they were not numbered, as per examples from the original 1960s Lacloche edition which were also not individually numbered and in addition the prototypes were also not fitted with a small carrying handle to the rear.
This is therefore an extremely rare,beautiful and important piece of French POP design with very interesting historical value being a pre production prototype. In total 166 'elephant' chaise are believe to have been produced over both editions ; 60 unnumbered examples from the original 1960s Lacloche gallery edition, most of these were finished in either red or orange (20 of each) plus the 1985 limited reedition of 100 numbered examples by Roudillon in 1985 which were available in five colours, 20 of each colour were produced, plus the six Roudillon prototypes of which this is one.
This example was found near Paris in fairly unloved condition having been stored in a damp basement of a holiday home in the countryside 150km from Paris. It had been used by the family on their outdoor patio for many years leaving a surface build up of lichen in the folds in the fibreglass and lower areas of the seat where water had sat for long periods, there were also areas of UV yellowing and natural surface dirt accumulation over the years. Small areas of the fibreglass edges had started to split in a few spots due to wear and water ingress.
We have had the chaise professionally cleaned and had the small damaged areas sympathetically restored by a fibreglass specialist while still maintaining the originality of the piece. We have not re-enameled the wrought iron cradle base , it has been left completely original as found and shows areas of light surface rust in places. The underside surface of the fibreglass has been left completely original so you can see the true authenticity and age of the piece. In our opinion it is important that these historically important pieces are left as original as possible while still trying to preserve them for the future.
PLEASE ASK FOR ADDITIONAL PHOTOS ; we also took a series of detail photos of the chaise in its as found condition ie prior to cleaning and prior to the undertaking of the small repairs and sympathetic light restoration of the fibreglass which are also available to our seriously interested clients. Please see image 10 of the chaise in our warehouse photographed prior to cleaning.
The Elephant chaise is a super rare classic of the French avant garde. Pierre Cardin famously has one adorning one of the outdoor terraces at his exquisite 'Palais Bulles' in the South of France. Please see Image 9 . Bernard Rancillac himself can be seen seated in his elephant chaise in Image 9 where you get a sense of the scale of the chair and its all enveloping form.
The 'Elephant' chaise was introduced as part of the famous contemporary design exhibition 'l'Objet 2', presented at the Musée des Arts décoratifs
in 1966 which was organized by the Galerie Lacloche,Paris in collaboration
with the museum. PLEASE SEE IMAGE 2.The exhibition was a follow up to the museum's also iconic 1962 exhibition 'Antagonisme 2- L'Objet'
BIOGRAPHY of Benard Rancillac (Courtesy of Elsa Coustou,TATE,LONDON):
As the co-organiser of the seminal exhibition Mythologies Quotidiennes in 1964 in Paris, considered to be the founding point of figuration narrative, Bernard Rancillac was at a very early stage engaged with a critical re-appropriation of pop art’s figurative language. Abandoning informal and abstract painting in 1962, he became a pioneer of French figuration narrative, working from photographic images in magazines, advertisements, popular imagery and comic strips and reinterpreting them to highlight their political implications
'L'objet 2 pour un mobilier contemporain' , 1966 original exhibition catalog, Michel Ragon, Galerie Lacloche ,Paris, fig 5 please see image 2
'Le Mobilier français 1965-1979', page 51, Gilles de Bure, Éditions du Regard, Paris, 1983.
'The Palais Bulles of Pierre Cardin' , pages 184-5 J.P Hesse, Assoulin,2012. PLEASE SEE IMAGE 8