Today the oeuvre of French architect and designer Jean Prouve is considered essential to the history of twentieth century design. Prouve’s furniture designs were determined by the interior spaces the pieces would inhabit, and they developed in tandem with the Modernist principles of the “art of living” and “harmonious habitat” that were so characteristic of the time. This exquisitely produced and comprehensive volume, which was put together by Paris’ Galerie Patrick Seguin and New York’s Sonnabend Gallery–where Prouve was the subject of a critically-acclaimed 2003 solo exhibition–fills a hole in the existing scholarship, most of which focuses on Prouve’s architecture. It includes a collection of interviews with collectors and design professionals, a detailed biography of Prouve by his daughter, Catherine Prouve, and essays by design historian Raymond Guidot and architecture historian Catherine Coley.
Jean Prouve was born in Paris in 1901. He opened his workshop in Nancy in 1923 and began producing furniture the following year. Immediately successful, Prouve is best known for his innovative applications of new materials, with which he created extremely influential buildings and furniture–including several gas stations for Shell and Mobile. Working well past retirement, he died in Nancy in 1984.