This incredibly rare sofa is a superb early example of Royère’s playful style. Crafted in Paris for Maison Gouffé, the sofa holds an illustrious provenance, acquired first by the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and later by famed painter John Currin. Drawing inspiration from Louis XV corbeil sofas, Royère exaggerated the scale of this piece for a modern audience, adding a touch of whimsy to an otherwise traditional design. The curved back of the sofa prefigures one of Royère’s most timeless designs: the Ours Polaire sofa. This is a timeless piece that has engaged its audience for decades.
In 2002, the sofa was featured in Blithe Spirit: The Windsor Set, an exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York that highlighted the close relationship between fashion and interior design, placing the romantic and spectacular evening gowns of the Windsors alongside the fine and decorative arts of the period.
Jean Royère was a French interior designer known for his bright, plush, and playful furniture. Often perceived as outside of the modernist trajectory ascribed to twentieth-century design, Royère was nonetheless informed by and enormously influential to his peers. He began his design career in Paris’ cabinet-making workshops before receiving his first big commission, designing a new layout for the Brasserie Carlton on the Champs Elysées in 1934. Taking on the mantle of the great artistes décorateurs of 1940s France, Royère’s success continued with great vitality into the second half of the twentieth century. His luxurious style soon caught the eye of the world’s elite and he began designing couture furniture and spaces for the likes of King Hussein of Jordan and the Shah of Iran. Royère was one of the first to promote a new way of life through interior decoration and his playful approach solidified his career with an international audience.
Provenance: Manufactured by Maison Gouffé, Paris, c. 1938; to the Duke and Duchess of Windsor; to Eric Phillipe, Paris; to Barry Friedman; to John Currin via Sotheby’s, New York, December 17, 2004 (Sale NO8023). The sofa retains its original frame, feet, horsehair and muslin understructure. It has been recovered in hand-stitched Rose Cummings Fortuny silk velvet.
Dimensions: 108″ L x 34″ H
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