S otheby's is pleased to announce the sale of the François and Betty Catroux collection, which adorned their apartment in the Palais Maeterlinck, overlooking the French Riviera. Until now, François Catroux’s final creation has remained utterly private and unknown to the world. The collection reflects the designer's personal taste and style, mixing 20th- and 21st-century design with contemporary art, works from Asia and Africa and some of his own rare creations.
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“Francois Catroux was very much a Renaissance man.... handsome, elegant, funny and extremely talented. His perfect eclectic yet precise eye brought magic in whatever he touched. He sculpted into space by finding the most extraordinary objects and making them the center and soul of a room. He truly was an alchemist of taste and comfort. »
Since the early 1980s, Ron Arad has been shaking up the design scene by placing experimentation, with the different possibilities offered by metal and new techniques, at the heart of his work. "No Discipline!" is the title he chose for his first retrospective at the Centre Pompidou and then at MoMa in 2008 and 2009.
The pieces by Ron Arad in the François Catroux collection all belong to the Volumes series; constructions made of a « peau de métal » (metal skin) that the artist likes to polish, patinate and deform. These are creations that play with formal ambiguities; the apparent instability of the furniture, the play of reflection and light. Works that are furniture and sculpture at the same time, that celebrate the beauty of metal.
Here in the François and Betty Catroux collection, the Two legs and a table and Three legs and a table, made in Ron Arad's London workshop, are his most raw and artisanal with the intentionally exposed welds. They are also the rarest. In fact, although conceived as an edition of 20, the designer recalls that in reality only a few were every made. These emblematic pieces of the creations of the One Off workshop are today the ones most sought after by collectors.
Regarding the After Spring chair, Ron Arad declares, "It's a chair done in a single line". But it's also a true technical feat that succeeds in uniting balance with strength. The Before Summer chair is built on the same technical principle but with a higher back. It is exceptional to find these two iconic Ron Arad chairs together.
Lastly, the Big Easy Volume 2 is, as Ron Arad explains, "a paraphrase of the Chesterfield", "oversized", here made of polished steel and patinated steel. An emblematic Ron Arad creation, it is today seen as a major 20th century work.
Far from the minimalist presentations of museums and galleries, François Catroux integrated Ron Arad's works into an interior decoration mixing styles and eras. This is an opportunity to remember that the designer likes his works to have multiple existences depending on the environment in which they find themselves. These creations are not sacred objects. "No rules!" Ron Arad reminds us.