Iconic 'Proust's Armchair' sells for World Record price of $73,000

The most recent Bohmans 'Contemporary Two' sale in London saw the sale of one of most iconic and important pieces of post-modernist design.

Proust's Armchair, by Italian designer and architect Alessandro Mendini, was designed in 1978 and executed in 1981. The instantly recognisable piece was created specifically for a performance based exhibition entitled Robot Sentimentale, conceived by Studio Alchymia and held at the showrooms of Italian furniture company, MIM.  

In 'The Story of the Proust Chair' (2001) Mendini describes the origin of his design;

"I found an appropriate ready-made in the replica of an eighteenth century armchair, and chose a detail from a Signac painting for the pattern that covers the whole armchair... I also wanted to reach a different type of result, i.e. to make a culturally grounded object based on a false one, seeing that the redesign in this case has been performed on a piece of kitsch, a fake-antique armchair that is still being mass-produced today..."

The chair was commissioned in 1981 for an
Italian performance-based exhibition

The stunning chair was offered at the sale with an estimated value of £20,000 - £30,000, but easily surpassed expectations to sell for a World Record price of £46,850 ($73,804).

The sale also produced three more record-breaking prices in the form of three chairs created by the British furniture designer Gerald Summers.

The chairs had been commissioned by Wilfred Randolph Brown, a respected property developer in Liverpool during the 1920s and 1930s, for his new art deco country home, The Chase, in the village of Great Sutton on the Wirral.

After interest from international collectors the three chairs sold for £38,450, £32,450 and £27,500 respectively, each a record for a chair of its type.

Interest in the sale, which took place on October 19, had been heightened by the recent opening of the exhibition of Post-Modernist Design at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London which offered the museum's first ever in depth survey of art, design and architecture of the 1970s and 1980s.


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