DEMISCH DANANT TO PRESENT PROVENANCE, CELEBRATING THE ROLE OF CONNOISSEURSHIP IN FRENCH DESIGN HISTORY
TEFAF Maastricht Stand # 610
Maastricht Exhibition & Congress Center, Forum 100
New York, NY…Beginning March 11, 2016, Demisch Danant will present Provenance, an exhibition reflecting upon the special relationships between artists and collectors that influenced connoisseurship in the field of French design of the 1970s. This exhibition includes rare furniture and functional objects of the period by Michel Boyer, César, Claude de Muzac, Pierre Paulin, and Maria Pergay, along with artworks by celebrated artists Arman, César, and Sheila Hicks.
On view through March 20th, Provenance is the latest in an ongoing series of exhibitions curated by Demisch Danant to explore innovation and influences in French post-war design of the 1950s through 1980s.
“In simple terms, the provenance of an object provides a documented history that helps prove ownership, assigns the work to a known artist, and establishes authenticity,” said gallery principal Stephane Danant. “But beyond these basics, provenance is actually a repository of deeper meaning. It contextualizes an object within its era and beyond, and it enriches our understanding of design breakthroughs that have been encouraged by personal relationships. For passionate experts and for collectors who aspire to true connoisseurship, provenance is deeply significant as a means to measure value.”
Most of the works on view in Provenance were commissioned directly from the artists and designers who created them, revealing histories that include personal narratives, important information about the unique processes of their making, and facts about the steps of acquisition. These objects also reflect the evolution of French taste in the second half of the 20th century: Between the late 1960s and mid-1970s, France witnessed the emergence of a new era of artistic energy, marked by leaps of creative daring, which included forms of expression and mediums that challenged previously accepted boundaries. Cesar’s rare and highly baroque bronze Expansion Table (1977), one of the highlights of Provenance, exemplifies the bold experiments artists undertook in the 1970s, to push beyond the confines of ‘fine art,’ express themselves through functional objects, and introduce their most radical ideas to the realm of domestic design. Furthermore, the excitement of the 1970s in particular encouraged formative new relationships between artists and collectors.
A stainless steel and walnut desk (1970) is a unique piece created by Michel Boyer for Élie de Rothschild’s personal office at Rothschild Banque in Paris – a legendary interior that stands as an enduring representation of 20th century French style. As part of his collaboration with Boyer, Rothschild also commissioned acclaimed American-born, Paris-based artist Sheila Hicks to make several architectural installations for the private salons in the bank, as well as Hicks’ Prayer Rug (1969), on view in Provenance, for his private collection.
Sheila Hicks’ Textile Fresco (1969) in the exhibition was commissioned for the Paris apartment of Mr. Rotcajg, designed by internationally admired decorator and tastemaker Alberto Pinto. Tapisserie (1980), a blue fiber sculpture by Hicks, was made for the personal collection of French designer Claude de Muzac, creator of three sculptural lamps on view that come from her personal collection. Each lamp is a unique work of functional design that achieves the authority of sculpture.
A low table by Pierre Paulin is a treasure from the collection of Marc le Bailly, Paulin’s long time friend and director of workshop Segransan, which produced the designer’s pieces in the 1980s.
Works by Maria Pergay find a designer channeling the spirit of her relationships with clients and friends. The designer’s Sofa (2009) was commissioned by Adam Lindemann, a noted collector, for the interior of his New York townhouse, designed by architect David Adjaye. Lindemann is a longtime collector of Pergay’s work and a host of the designer in New York. The sofa is juxtaposed in Provenance with Pergay Side Tables (1970) from the collection of Odette and Lino Ventura.
One of the exhibition’s most personal and unexpected object is Pergay’s ebullient Oursin/Sea Urchin (1970) created for the Baron Gourgaud to present his prized collection of important minerals at his residence in Porto Vecchio, Corsica. Studded with glimmering specimens, this steel sea urchin gives form to the spirit of collaboration between a visionary designer and a connoisseur that is the very essence of Provenance.