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Details & Cataloguing

Design: Living in a Material World

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London

Alessandro Mendini
'POLTRONA DI PROUST' ARMCHAIR
numbered 4799 twice, possibly the date of execution
painted wood, with fabric upholstery hand-painted by Claudia Mendini
107 x 103 x 87 cm (42  1/8  x 40  1/8  x 34  1/4  in.)
designed 1976, executed 1999
executed by Atelier Mendini, Milan, Italy
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Provenance

Robert Wilson, acquired directly from the producer
Phillips London, The Robert Wilson Loft Sale, 30 September, 2007, lot 602
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Literature

Pier Carlo Bontempi, Giorgio Gregori, eds, Alchimia, Milan, 1985, p. 54
Guia Sambonet, ed., Alchimia, Turin, 1986, p. 12, fig 2, p. 35, fig. 45
Frans Haks, ed., Atelier Mendini: Alessandro e Francesco Mendini: Progetti dal 1989 al 1996, Milan, 1998, p. 40
Glenn Adamson, Jane Pavitt, eds, Postmodernism: Style and Subversion, 1970-1990, exh. cat., London, 2011, p. 41, cat. no. 41

Catalogue Note

Alessandro Mendini wanted to create a chair that combined the visual language of the great novelist and poet Marcel Proust, and the pointillist technique of the painter Paul Signac. 'After having read about and researched Proust's visual and material world, the idea came to me of designing a possible armchair of his... In this case, I made references to Proust's descriptions of place and time on one hand, and the impressionist movement in painting on the other.' The chair itself is a replica of an 18th century armchair, each hand painted in the same pointillist technique as that employed by Signac. 'I elaborated on pointillistic patterns in order to create objects, architecture and paintings that are made up of particles and look unreal, almost like mirages that would be appropriate for some kind of meditative and immaterial surroundings.'

The present lot was commissioned by theatre stage director and playwright Robert Wilson for one of his plays.

Sotheby's would like to thank Beatrice Felis from Atelier Mendini for her assistance with the cataloguing of this lot.

Design: Living in a Material World

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London