1946 Students' Desk by Jean Prouvé

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Designed by Jean Prouvé in 1946, and made by his atelier for a few years thereafter, this futuristic-yet-ancient-looking desk for two is in completely original condition, with a gorgeous patina produced by seven decades of French schoolchildren pretending to study Victor Hugo while furtively sneaking peeks at the latest Astérix comic. On the surfaces which got the most wear, the gorgeous silver (with a hint of green) paint yields to the burnished bare steel of the desk's structure. The original wood desktop -- which is both the softest part, and that which got the hardest, most continuous use -- exhibits the most wear, making the 70-year-old slab of oak appear to be several hundred years older than it is. This desk is thus an aesthetic feast for anyone who savors the way some objects can express the passage of the years they have silently witnessed, and the many generations they have served.

Prouvé's "pupitre scolaire" for two is ideal as a homework station for elementary-school-age children, while its sculptural qualities will make it welcome as an object of unusual architectural beauty and great historical significance in any room of the home. It is similar to another Prouvé students' desk we sold a few years ago, but this example is a rare variation: the seats and backs are made of molded plywood, with beautifully figured veneers and affixed with Prouvé's signature spanner screws. In contrast, most of Prouvé's school desks -- including our last one -- were constructed entirely of steel (except for their wooden desktops).

Literature: Peter Sulzer, Jean Prouvé: Oeuvre Complète / Complete Works. Volume 3: 1944-1954 (Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag, 2005), p.69.


  • Condition
    Good. A very good example, in original condition. Well used, but with exactly the sort of patina one wants in a piece of Jean Prouvé furniture..
  • Wear
    Wear consistent with age and use
  • Dimensions
    28 in. H x 45.3 in. W x 34.8 in. D
    71 cm H x 115 cm W x 88 cm D
  • Dealer Location
    Los Angeles, CA
  • Number of Items
  • Reference Number
About the Seller

1stdibs seller since 2005

Typical response time: 2 hours

Located in Los Angeles, CA

  • 20th Century Specialists

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