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Pair Modernist Royere Gouffe Cerused Oak Wall Shelf Deco, 1930s, France
- DimensionsHeight: 17 in. (43.18 cm)Width: 47 in. (119.38 cm)Depth: 12 in. (30.48 cm)
- Sold AsSet of 2
- StyleArt Deco (Of the Period)
- Materials and TechniquesOak,Cerused
- Place of Origin
- Date of Manufacture1927
- ConditionWear consistent with age and use.
- Seller LocationNew York, NY
- Reference Number1stDibs: LU189339299821
Shipping & Returns
- ShippingRates vary by destination and complexity. We recommend this shipping type based on item size, type and fragility.Ships From: New York, NY
- Return Policy
A return for this item may be initiated within 1 day of delivery.
About the Designer
World traveler, polyglot and avant-garde visionary Jean Royère (1902–81) is one of the biggest names in French mid-century design. He was fascinated by different materials, such as raffia and zebrawood, and aesthetics from around the world, from Scandinavian modernism to the traditions of the Middle East. Owing to this venturesome spirit, Royère produced an eclectic body of work that truly doesn’t fit a singular style. One light fixture might have organic shapes reminiscent of Art Nouveau, while a table would be crafted with minimalist straw marquetry.
Born in Paris, Royère studied classics at Cambridge University and then worked for an import-export company. In 1931, he switched gears to design, studying cabinetmaking in the workshops of Faubourg Saint-Antoine and furniture making under the tutelage of Pierre Gouffé. He made his debut in interior design in 1934 when he won a design contest for the brasserie in the Hotel Carlton on the Champs-Élysées.
Royère’s most famous piece of furniture was his biomorphic Boule sofa, sometimes playfully called the Ours Polaire, or Polar Bear. Designed for his mother in 1947, the curved sofa with its fuzzy white velvet shocked the French interior design world when it was displayed at the Art et Industrie exhibition, but it proved enduringly popular with customers, such as the Shah of Iran, who purchased several for his daughter. Royère would continue to design furniture and interiors for an elite clientele, including the kings of Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Royère retired in 1972, then moved to the United States in 1980. After he died a year later, his archives were given to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. His works continue to be highly coveted — Kanye West, for instance, once tweeted that the Polar Bear sofa is his favorite piece of furniture. In 2016, Galerie Patrick Seguin in Paris opened a retrospective of his distinctive designs, from the plush 1943 Eléphanteau chair to the 1963 Tour Eiffel table with its elegant metal supports.
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