Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice

    Description

    Jean-Michel Frank (French, 1895-1941)
    Pair of Rare Armchairs, circa 1939, Comte S.R.L.
    Painted iron, leather
    35 x 23-1/2 x 28 inches (88.9 x 59.7 x 71.1 cm)
    Together with a certificate of authenticity from the Comité Jean-Michel Frank, Paris


    Jean-Michel Frank was a French designer known for his sophisticated austerity, active for only a brief span between the late 1920s and 1941. While his propensity for simplified forms would seem consonant with the design tenets of the Modernist movement, Frank utilized natural materials almost exclusively, eschewing the use of new and machined materials such as polished metals and molded plastics favored by his contemporaries. He emphasized the presence of humanity and tactility rather than their absence, lending his forms a sensuous quality, as opposed to the mechanical nature of the Bauhaus school or Le Corbusier's "machines for living". Drawing from Weimar-era Bohemian counterculture, Frank's style functioned as a commentary on class division, forcing "refinement" and "crudeness" to occupy the same space. Elegant room partitions were inlaid with straw, plush sofas upholstered with jute, traditional gueridons topped with terracotta, or, as in the present examples, two armchairs and a bench made of painted iron and hand-stitched, raw-edged leather. Though his pieces were made for elite clientele, he channeled the flamboyance and ingenuity of the socially, politically, and economically marginalized.

    In 1936 Frank forged a partnership with renowned Buenos Aires design firm Comte via his impressive network of acquaintances. Comte began manufacturing Frank's designs in that year, continuing to do so even after his death in 1941. The present examples, authenticated by the Comité Jean-Michel Frank, were produced in 1939 with Frank providing creative oversight. In his commissions for Comte, Frank demonstrated a continued interest in the interplay of high and low culture, as evidenced with this set. Here he has updated an earlier design, the basis of which came from a set from his pivotal 1929 commission decorating several rooms in Charles and Marie-Laure Noailles' Parisian residence, the Hotel Bischoffsheim. The French and Argentinian examples differ slightly in materials and construction, with Frank selecting locally sourced leather and iron for the Comte examples. Although Jean-Michel Frank's life and career were tragically short, his influence was nonetheless profound, with a design aesthetic that is highly revered and an underlying philosophy that continues to be politically relevant.


    Condition Report*: Signs of age and use. The original leather with areas of discoloration and wear. With some folds to the leather as seen in the images. Some surface wear to metal frames and one front leg with a fissure visible on front of frame. Some leather lacing loose and one arm with a piece of leather lace broken.
    *Heritage Auctions strives to provide as much information as possible but encourages in-person inspection by bidders. Statements regarding the condition of objects are only for general guidance and should not be relied upon as complete statements of fact, and do not constitute a representation, warranty or assumption of liability by Heritage. Some condition issues may not be noted in the condition report but are apparent in the provided photos which are considered part of the condition report. Please note that we do not de-frame lots estimated at $1,000 or less and may not be able to provide additional details for lots valued under $500. All lots are sold "AS IS" under the Terms & Conditions of Auction.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2018
    21st Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 3,987

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    25% on the first $250,000 (minimum $49), plus 20% of any amount between $250,000 and $2,500,000, plus 12% of any amount over $2,500,000 per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    VIEW BENEFITS
    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
      winnings 
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 March 17 Asian Art Signature Auction - Dallas.

    Learn about consigning with us

    I was very pleased with the results and with the professionalism of Alissa and Heritage Auctions! I will definitely auction with them again.
    Phyllis R.,
    Laramie, WY
    View More Testimonials

    HA.com receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source: Similarweb.com)

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    2014 November 21 Tiffany, Lalique & Art Glass Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,441,296
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 17 American Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $6,712,638
    2014 November 14 American Indian Art , Pre-Columbian, & Tribal Art Signature Auction
    2014 Nov 14 American Indian Art, Pre-Columbian & Tribal Art Auction
    REALIZED $441,524
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    2014 November 8 Modern & Contemporary Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $5,683,719
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    2014 November 6 Silver & Vertu Signature Auction
    REALIZED $439,980
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    2014 October 18 The Belo Collection of Texas Art Signature Auction
    REALIZED $624,835
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    2014 October 16 Photographs Signature Auction
    REALIZED $824,108
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    2014 September 28 Nature & Science Signature Auction
    REALIZED $1,089,341
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    2014 Sept 13-14 Gentleman Collector Signature Estate Auction
    REALIZED $1,725,292
    2019 October 15 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    2019 October 15 Illustration Art Signature Auction - Dallas
    REALIZED $2,702,373