Lot 56
  • 56

Pierre Chareau

400,000 - 600,000 USD
468,500 USD
bidding is closed


  • Pierre Chareau
  • “Religieuse” Floor Lamp, Model No. SN31
  • mahogany, alabaster and patinated wrought-iron
  • 74 in. (188 cm) high


Grand Hôtel de Tours, France
Jean-Claude Brugnot
De Lorenzo, New York
Robin Roberts, Bedford, New York
Christie’s New York, December 18, 2007, lot 415
DeLorenzo, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner


For the model executed with a metal base:
Léon Deshairs, "Le XIVe Salon des Artistes Décorateurs," Art et Decoration, January 1924, p. 179
Henri Clouzot, "En marge de l'art appliqué moderne", L'Amour de l'Art, April 1924, p. 116
Yvanohé Rambosson, "Le Salon des décorateurs", L'Amour de l'Art, April 1924, p. 193
Edmond Fleg, "Nos Décorateurs, Pierre Chareau", Les Arts de la Maison, Winter 1924, pl. II
Léon Deshairs, L'Art Décoratif Français 1918-1925, Paris, 1926, p. 14
Pierre Olmer, Le Mobilier Français d'Aujourd'hui (1910-1925), Paris, 1926, pl. XXXII
Pierre Kjellberg, Art Deco: Les Maitres du Mobilier, Paris, 1981, p. 43
Alastair Duncan, Art Deco Furniture, London, 1984, pl. 5
Marc Vellay and Kenneth Frampton, Pierre Chareau, Architecte-meublier, Paris, 1984, pp. 93 and 194
Pierre Chareau, architecte, un art d'intérieur, exh. cat., Centre Pompidou, November 3, 1993-January 17, 1994, Paris, pp. 15, 18 and 155
Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design, exh. cat., The Jewish Museum, November 4, 2016-March 26, 2017, New York, pp. 29, 63, 70 and 138

For the model executed with a wood base:
Marc Vellay and Kenneth Frampton, Pierre Chareau, Architecte-meublier, Paris, 1984, p. 195
Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design, exh. cat., The Jewish Museum, November 4, 2016-March 26, 2017, New York, pp. 10 and 138 (for a table lamp versions of the model) and 139

Catalogue Note

In 1925, critic Louis Charles Watelin wrote: “Pierre Chareau is always looking for a volume that will correspond to a new sensibility. He is a bold character and a leader."  Indeed, Chareau's designs reveal his distinct and pioneering conception of objects, which was emboldened by his background in architecture and his passion for the revolutionary artworks of his contemporaries.  A friend of artists such as Joan Miró and Jacques Lipchitz, Chareau also was an art collector himself, owning works by Picasso, Gris and Mondrian, whose vision of space had a profound influence on this own approach.  Chareau’s oeuvre reflects the formal and plastic influences of the avant-garde artists of his time while drawing on a tradition of craftsmanship.

At the Salon des Artistes Décorateurs in 1924, Chareau presented the decoration of "The reception and intimacy for a modern apartment," featuring works by Eileen Gray, Pierre Legrain and Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann.  It was for this commission that he conceived his most iconic piece of lighting: the “Religieuse,” named for the pairing of the dark metal base with an alabaster lampshade, much like the dark dress and white "cornette" worn by nuns.

In 1925, in the Pavillion de la Société des Artistes Décorateurs, Pierre Chareau placed a mahogany version of the Religieuse in the parlor of the “Ambassade Française.” In 1926, his friend Paul Bernheim commissioned Chareau to design the interiors of the Grand Hôtel de Tours, in France. The Grand Hôtel de Tours was the artist’s first large-scale commission beyond one-family apartments.  This project allowed him to apply his unique artistic vocabulary to an entire interior and to achieve overall harmony and visual rhythm through objects with an implicit sense of mobility.

The Religieuse design is one of the finest examples of Chareau's ingenuity, creative spirit, and experimental approach with regard to materals.  Beginning in 1923, he would incorporate more and more metal in his designs, collaborating with metalworker Louis Dalbet.  He started with a few small items such as jardinières and radiator covers, but he soon extended his experimentation to lighting.  When metal became integrated within the design, it opened up new possibilities for other materials.  Chareau would find out through these trials that the combination of mahogany, alabaster and patinated metal produces a fabulous contrast between the alabaster's angularity, the graphic quality of the black metal edges, and curvature of the base. The richness of the wood complements beautifully the soft surface of the alabaster, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere.