'Objets d'Art?'

The Chateau de Villeneuve, built in the XVIIth century in the heart of the little village of Vence in Provence, shelters in these superb walls the exhibition ‘Objets d’Art’, an overview of the collection of design from the Museum of Modern Art in Saint-Etienne. Until November 30, 2001 you are invited to compare design works of which the date of creation is sometimes separated by an entire century as well as with works of art from the same era. In fact, the concept of the exhibition incites a display which distributes, over the total space, groups of design works and artistic works corresponding to the same periods. These are grouped first on the level of the conception, then on the formal level, and lastly on the level of materials and techniques, thus creating unexpected exchanges, analogies and contrasts.

The result is that the design objects immediately stand out as winners of this proximity with the artistic productions chosen to live together during this summer exhibition.
The imbalance is flagrant – the works of art presented here are mostly just representatives of their period, while the design objects exposed are much more than that. They are mostly objects or furniture which form part of the great monuments in the history of design and the importance of their creators in the evolution of their discipline is with no possible comparison with that of the artists presented here. Even if it is not actually the aim of this exhibition, one cannot compare the capacity of innovation of artists such as Camille Bryen, Auguste Herbin, Alfred Manessier, Edgar Maxence, Michel Mortier or Alexandre Seon with designers such as Le Corbusier, Aalto, Eames, Jacobsen, Colombo, Panton, De Lucchi, Sottsass or Starck. If the works of art seem here to enhance the design pieces, this is above all due to the quality of the design works exhibited. One should pay tribute here to the important relevance of the purchasing policy of the Museum of Saint-Etienne, which allows the uninitiated visitor to discover a collection very representative of design of the 20th century. The connoisseur will have pleasure in seeing an impressive collection of furniture of Hoffmann (1904), the Rocking Chair of Gustav Siegel (1900), a director’s desk of Jean Prouvé, and an anonymous Indian chair (1904) which one rarely has the occasion to admire.

In addition to the designers already noted, we have had the pleasure to wander among the creations of Breuer, Van der Rohe, Castelli-Ferrieri, Mollino, Perriand, Pesce, Bertoia, Saarinen, Juhl, Magistretti and many more. The designers listed here give an idea of the very high level of the collection partially but broadly presented at the Château de Villeneuve.

Conclusion: If you have the chance to find yourself in the south of France during the coming three months, visit this exhibition – you will not be disappointed.

Château de Villeneuve
Place du Frêne - 06140 Vence - France
Tel: 33 04 93 58 15 78

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Pierre Jeanneret, Le Corbusier, Charlotte Perriand
‘Chaise Longue’, 1928
Musée d'Art Moderne de St Etienne

Set of furniture
by Jean Prouvé and Charlotte Perriand
Musée d'Art Moderne de St Etienne

Nicolas Cisse
Child Chair, 1998
Musée d'Art Moderne de St Etienne
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