Rare and Unique Objects Created in the 1960s and 1970s by Joseph André Motte, Pierre Paulin, Sheila Hicks, and Pierre Sabatier.
Meridian Avenue and 19th Street
Demisch Danant is pleased to present Public Commission, an exhibition dedicated to works created in the 1960s and 1970s for key public spaces in France by designers and artists who defined the era. On view in the gallery’s booth (G10) at Design/Miami, the exhibition features rare and unique objects conceived by French designers Joseph André Motte and Pierre Paulin, French artist Pierre Sabatier, and Paris-based American artist Sheila Hicks.
Public Commission is the latest in an ongoing series of shows organized by Demisch Danant to explore the extraordinary innovations of “Les Trentes Glorieuses,” the three-decade period following the Second World War when France was the site of explosive innovation in modern design and public architecture. Significant public projects, including airports and city halls, granted architects and designers new territory for experimentation with form and materials, and outlets for expressing new modern ambitions. Public Commission specifically spotlights the period, beginning in the early 1960s, in which architects began collaborating with young designers.
Industrial and interior designer Joseph André Motte (1925 – 2013) received the most prestigious public décor commissions of this period, including Orly Airport (1961) and la Maison de la radio/ORTF (1962). Public Commission features a unique desk designed by Motte for a commission in Dunkerque, as well as a pair of Luge Chairs (1966) commissioned by the City Hall of Grenoble.
Artist Pierre Sabatier (1925 – 2003), a sculptor best known for his monumental metal sculptures, was a key figure in the French postwar movement “Mur Vivant” that advocated for the integration of art into modern public architecture. Many of his best-known sculptures and installations were made possible by new postwar laws requiring that a percentage of construction budgets be dedicated to original works of art. Sabatier worked closely with Joseph André Motte on important large-scale public commissions in France, including several City Hall projects. Public Commission presents the artist’s Salamander (c. 1968), a sculpture made of tin over worked brass that is the forerunner to a celebrated Sabatier sculpture commissioned by Motte for a curved wall of the Marriage Hall in the City Hall of Grand-Quevilly.
In 1972, Pierre Paulin (1927 - 2009) was commissioned to design the private rooms of the Palais de l’Élysée for Prime Minister George Pompidou, one of the 20th century’s plum décor assignments. Public Commission presents the iconic Élysée Chairs and Élysée Sofa conceived by Paulin – who today is recognized as one of the most influential designers of the 20th century -- for the living room of the palace.
Public Commission also includes Prayer Rug (1969) by Sheila Hicks (b. Nebraska, 1934), who moved to Paris in 1964 and has, over the course of half a century, achieved international renown for works in fiber that include her ingenious sculptural insertions into modern architecture. Prayer Rug is an iconic early Hicks work commissioned by Elie de Rothschild.