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108

Jean Prouvé

"Présidence" Desk

Jean Prouvé

Jean Prouvé

"Présidence" Desk

"Présidence" Desk

Authenticity guarantee

What is guaranteed?

Jean Prouvé

"Présidence" Desk

circa 1948

model no. 201

produced by Ateliers Jean Prouvé, Nancy, France

oak, lacquered steel, aluminum

29 1/8 x 97 1/2 x 56 in. (74 x 247.6 x 142.2 cm)

Overall in very good condition. The wooden surface present with surface scratches, abrasions concentrated to the edges, and occasional hairlines throughout consistent with age and gentle use. The center of the desktop with slightly more pronounced scratches and abrasions concentrated to the center consistent with use. The wooden top with some faint discolorations to the finish. The wooden surfaces present with occasional instances of small and sensitive restorations and inpainting concentrated to the edges and tabletop. The oak and metal surfaces with occasional scattered house paint marks throughout, not visually distracting. The lacquered metal surfaces present with evidence of age throughout, and exhibit scratches and abrasions throughout consistent with use. The lacquer with occasional losses and corresponding oxidation concentrated to the corners and edges of the desk frame and drawer file cabinet. The aluminum in age appropriate condition with light scratches and in age-appropriate condition. The four drawers are in working condition. The wooden pull-out tray is in working condition. A superb desk model by Jean Prouvé in well-preserved and functional condition. 


In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.

NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Jousse Entreprise, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owners, 2012
Anthony Delorenzo, ed., Jean Prouvé/Serge Mouille, New York, 1985, pp. 71-73 
Galeries Jousse Seguin and Galerie Enrico Navarra, ed., Jean Prouvé, Paris, 1998, pp. 97 and 104-105
Peter Sulzer, Jean Prouvé: Œuvre complète/Complete Works, Vol. 3: 1944-1954, Basel, 2005, pp. 180-183
Galerie Patrick Seguin, ed., Jean Prouvé, Vol. 1, Paris, 2007, pp. 70-71 and 75

Jean Prouvé’s "Présidence" desk endures as one of the most defining forms of the 1950s, with the architect himself utilizing an example in his own workshop in Maxéville. Originally created in 1948, the kidney-shaped design did not acquire its "Présidence" designation until it was retailed by Steph Simon in the early 1950s.

Both within and outside the public sector, Prouvé’s work drew the attention of prominent clients, for whom this model was designed. The form was conceived with company directors and executives in mind and features an expansive top, large enough to be used as both a personal workspace and a conference table. Mounted on the tapered and lacquered metal legs for which Prouvé is known, the desk brings an industrial sensibility to the office interior, simultaneously efficient and flexible, robust and refined. The design proved especially popular among French architects in the 1950s—it was found in the studios of Bernard Zehrfuss, Jean de Mailly, Jean Sebag, André Remondet, Louis Sainsaulieu, and Prouvé himself, who utilized it in his own workshop in Maxéville. 

The present example is a rare iteration of the form as it was originally conceived, that is, with a case of drawers. It includes the customary oak veneer most often used on this model. It is one of only approximately 30 "Présidence" desks ever made. Another version of this desk with S.C.A.L. provenance (Société Centrale des Alliages Légers) is held in the collections of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris.