Jean Royère was a French designer, famous for his cushy Ours Polaire – “polar bear” – seating, due to being covered in a deliciously fuzzy velvet. Although this seating line usually pulls in six figures at auction, buyers are starting to desire other pieces, beyond those for which he is best known, including a very special sideboard.
Jean Royère is a truly prolific designer with a diverse body of work. The proof of it is a star-dappled cabinet that fetched a tremendous $1.8 million on previous May at Sotheby’s Important Design sale in New York – incredibly six times its high estimate.
The “Étoile” cabinet is rendered in straw marquetry with an oak interior and was commissioned in 1958 for the Dumont family. Even though the said piece was in the auction along with a six-piece suite of Royère furniture from the Dumont residence offered by Sotheby’s – namely a polar bear sofa, a set of chairs in alpaca wool, high and low Étoile tables and a set of six dining chairs, it came to a surprise that the usual frontrunners did not take the record prize!
In total, Sotheby’s Important Design returned $13.7 million, which makes the house’s second-highest total for a various-owner design sale.
This week of auctions resulted in a successful week for Sotheby’s design. The first auction was dedicated to a Thomas Molesworth series, where some pieces resulted in the top ten highest prices ever achieved for the designer’s furniture.
After the Molesworth sale was the collection of Delphine and Reed Krakoff, which brought in $8.7 Million. François-Xavier’s iconic Moutons de Laine—five white and one black—fetched $2.3 million and the rare black sheep alone netted $735,000, a new record for a single mouton. Claude Lalanne’s Crocodile armchair achieved $735,000, while her Aux Branchettes chandelier sold for $399,000.
The Sotheby’s auction was a total success and its biggest star was the “Étoile” sideboard. Many more records are to be broken in the future, as the love for design and for exclusive pieces grown on aficionados.