With the Paris dealer Patrick Seguin showcasing “Jean Royère,” which opened yesterday in his London gallery, the stellar oeuvre of that designer extraordinaire is once again rightfully in the spotlight. The multi-talented Royère (1902-1981), who was totally untrained, left a banking career at the age of 29 and was quickly dubbed the “Décorateur à Paris.”
On view in the show are several pieces which reflect the designer’s ahead-of-the-curve aesthetic. The ever-creative Royère explored entire new avenues when it came to furniture and lighting. Unconventional organic forms, sleek silhouettes, and primary colors were part of his visual vocabulary.
Staged to replicate one of the designer’s rooms, the exhibition highlights Royère’s penchant for curvilinear lines and abstract forms. Notable pieces on view include his celebrated gilded metal Bouquet sconces and a 1965 Herbier cabinet on which he applied marquetry and dried flowers for a textural front.
When it comes to collectors, fans of Royère include AD 100 Lee Mindel and Jacques Grange along with Larry Gagosian, Jennifer Aniston, and even Kanye West. Why does Royère continue to attract such a diverse clientele? “JR’s legacy endures because he developed a language that was simultaneously playful and chic and that was uniquely his own,” says Patrick Seguin, who will devote a portion of his Design Miami Basel stand to the designer’s oeuvre as well. “His work is highly appreciated and sought after today because of its refined originality.”
As a designer, Royère’s reach was formidable. By the 1950’s, he opened a massive gallery on the chic Rue Faubourg St. Honoré. In expanding his empire, the designer went on to establish galleries in Saint-Tropez, Beirut, Teheran, Lima, and São Paulo.
His clientele, too, were global. No less than the Saudi Arabian King Saoud, King Hussein of Jordan, the Shah of Iran, and the President of the Cairo Stock Exchange commissioned Royère to lend his talented hands to designing their palaces and offices. And of course, he outfitted those interiors with his own furniture and lighting.
But if you can’t hop across the pond to take in this pivotal exhibition, then snap up the two volume tome Jean Royère (Lacoste/Seguin, $240) published by Seguin and fellow expert Jacques Lacoste in 2012. That set of books is packed to the brim with more than 5,000 sketches, archival images, blueprints, and more. If you’re in Paris, head to the Musée des Arts Décoratifs—Royère bequeathed that museum not only his archives but also some of the contents of his own apartment.
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