Ideal collection: Artcurial auctions a wealth of design classics

For the past two years, French auction house Artcurial has given collectors a good excuse to stay on in Paris after the annual FIAC art fair ends, thanks to a bumper crop of sales. On 27 October, the Ideal Collection, a haul of 20 rare pieces of design, goes under the hammer at the house’s Napoleon III-era headquarters on the Champs-Élysées.

2 bookshelf designs
On 27 October, the Ideal Collection, a haul of 20 rare pieces of design, goes under the hammer at Artcurial’s Napoleon III-era headquarters on the Champs-Élysées. It includes a 1953 'Maison du Mexique' bookcase by Charlotte Perriand, complete with original concrete block legs (Berard’s favourite), and a child size ‘Oeuf’ chair by Jean Royère. Pictured left: wall-mounted bookcase, by Charlotte Perriand, c. 1950, production Atelier Jean Prouvé. Courtesy family of Jean Prouvé and Artcurial. Right: 'Maison du Mexique' bookcase, by Charlotte Perriand, 1952, production Atelier Jean Prouvé. Courtesy Artcurial
(Image credit: TBC)

For the past two years, French auction house Artcurial (opens in new tab) has given collectors a good excuse to stay on in Paris after the annual FIAC (opens in new tab) art fair ends, thanks to a bumper crop of sales.

On 27 October, the Ideal Collection, a haul of 20 rare pieces of design, goes under the hammer at the house’s Napoleon III-era headquarters on the Champs-Élysées.

Artcurial vice president Fabien Naudan, and director of the design department Emmanuel Berard, co-curated the capsule sale. It includes a 1953 'Maison du Mexique' bookcase by Charlotte Perriand, complete with original concrete block legs (Berard’s favourite), and a child size ‘Oeuf’ chair by Jean Royère.

‘At the end of last year, we were assisting Mexico House at the Cité Universitaire in Paris in its renovation and we found four pairs of the original concrete blocks that Perriand had used on her bookshelf, just sitting there in a cupboard,’ explains Berard. The 'Oeuf' was another coup. In 1955 Royère created furniture for the office of a paediatrician in Lorient. For years it was thought that only one baby 'Oeuf' existed, until Artcurial got a call from a long lost surgery assistant who had been given one along the way.

‘These are very rare pieces, and their stories are the best,’ says Naudan, who himself has so many Prouvé dining tables he has lost count, many Perriand pieces and furniture by ‘the one who started it all’ – Le Corbusier.

The sale also includes a 1944 'Bone' chair by Finn Juhl and 'Second Hand Rose', a 1989 chair by Ron Arad, who was the sole focus of Artcurial’s 20-piece design sale last year. Taking place on the same day as the Ideal Collection auction is Beautiful Winners, a sale of contemporary urban and street art.

A key player in the French design art market, Artcurial has grown from 30 to 150 people and increased turnover from €30 million to €200 million since it was founded in 2002. FIAC is an important date in the calendar; ‘It used to be a localised fair, but now it’s 70 per cent French and 30 per cent visitors are from abroad, ‘says Naudan. His ‘discovery’ this year? Young artist Catherine Bastide who showed at Oliver Osborne Gallery. The works sold straight away.

Silver bench & round orange chair

A key player in the French design art market, Artcurial has grown from 30 to 150 people and increased turnover from €30 million to €200 million since it was founded in 2002. Pictured left: 'Orgone Stretch Lounge', by Marc Newson. Courtesy Artcurial. Right: 'Oeuf' chair, by Jean Royère, 1955. Courtesy Artcurial

(Image credit: TBC)

Man sat in a library

Artcurial vice president Fabien Naudan (pictured), and director of the design department Emmanuel Berard, co-curated the capsule sale. ‘These are very rare pieces, and their stories are the best,’ says Naudan, who himself has so many Prouvé dining tables he has lost count, many Perriand pieces and furniture by ‘the one who started it all’ – Le Corbusier. Courtesy Artcurial

(Image credit: TBC)

Emma O'Kelly is a contributing editor at Wallpaper*. She joined the magazine on issue 4 as news editor and since since then has worked in full and part time roles across many editorial departments. She is a freelance journalist based in London and works for a range of titles from Condé Nast Traveller to The Telegraph. She is currently working on a book about Scandinavian sauna culture and is renovating a mid century house in the Italian Lakes.