Jean Royère, ‘Oeuf’ chair and stool, 1953. Fabric, oak.
The ovum is the seat of human life and the largest cell in the body. Jean Royère flipped the egg and sat the body in it. He first exhibited his small ‘Oeuf’ chairs at the 1954 Salon des Arts Ménagers in Paris, although they had incubated since 1951. Two halves faced each other across his ‘Foyer d’aujourd’hui’. He placed a low ‘Puddle’ table between them like a spilt yolk.
In Jean Royère (Galerie de Beyrie, 2000), Michael Boyd wrote: “There is a serious sculptural content imbued—but there is a playful, even humorous side, too.” Simply put, Royère cracked a good joke. ‘Polar Bears’, ‘Elephants’, ‘Bananas’—he enlivened his furniture with surrealist good humor. But Boyd is right, Royère modeled in the round. His ‘Sculpture Furniture’ (1955), overstuffed forms raised on turned oak legs, hatched from his ‘Oeufs’.
Of all the Gallic roosters, Royère fluffed his feathers highest. His elaborate upholstery and exaggerated lines best reflected the buoyant mood of the postwar years. In the mid-1950s, attendance at the Salon des Arts Ménagers routinely surpassed a million. It’s hard to imagine Pierre Paulin, Verner Panton, and the rest of the flock weren’t aware of his cupped seats—especially Arne Jacobsen whose own ‘Egg’ chair followed in 1958. Source/photo: Phillips.
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