Independent Design

Pierre Jeanneret and the Post War Years

Pierre Jeanneret and his cousin Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, who would later become known as Le Corbusier, made their design partnership official in 1922 when they began renovations to the Berque House in Paris. For the following eighteen years, Jeanneret and Le Corbusier worked side by side on numerous civic and private commissions, until 1940, when Jeanneret joined the Bureau Central de Construction in Grenoble and Le Corbusier went to Vichy. The two remained close and encouraged one another in their separate endeavors; however they would rejoin forces again in 1950.

In 1944 Jeanneret, Georges Blanchon and Denise Creswell founded the company L'Équipement de la Maison as a reaction to post-war needs for sustainable, inexpensive furniture and design. Two years later, while touring Europe, Hans and Florence Knoll encountered one of Jeanneret’s designs and invited him to America. Jeanneret accepted, and in 1948, Knoll licensed his breakthrough Scissor chair. Very few examples of these chairs are known.Jeanneret worked in New York for a few months, designing furniture and traveling the American countryside with Alexander Calder. However, he was not entirely satisfied with his work for Knoll, citing that “It’s all very well to be in the States making furniture, but heck, I’d rather have houses, blocks, cities”. In 1947 he returned to Paris to continue his partnership with Blanchon, but commissions during this time were scarce—Jeanneret worked on only a few small private homes as well as renovation projects for buildings that were damaged during the war. It is likely during this period that Jeanneret designed this lounge chair, very few examples of which were ever produced.


Scissor chairs for Knoll. Designed by Pierre Jeanneret in 1950.

While the formal qualities of the chair foreshadow his furniture for Chandigarh, they are also reflective of the design challenges facing Jeanneret prior to his time in India. In the years following the war, Jeanneret extensively researched methods of construction and materials that did not require the use of metals, instead embracing natural and inexpensive elements in his furniture designs. Jeanneret worked with his hands, constantly sketching and building models, challenging himself to design within the constraints of his environment, which at the time was reeling from the war and in need of repair. Much like his colleague and close friend Charlotte Perriand, Jeanneret embraced nature and craftsmanship to create functional, beautiful designs and a much needed sense of harmony in the post-war climate.

Armchairs designed by Jeanneret for Chandigarh, c. 1955.

This lounge chair design exemplifies Jeanneret’s evolving philosophy which he would further develop upon reuniting with his cousin in 1950 when the pair embarked on the massive urban planning project in Chandigarh. Le Corbusier recognized this sentiment in his cousin, and entrusted him to oversee the entire project. While Jeanneret’s contributions to their projects can sometimes be difficult to discern, friend and colleague Jean Prouvé probably best explained Jeanneret’s role by stating, “If there were a cataclysm and only a handful of architects were left on earth among the stones and the trees, they would die very quickly because they would not know how to use a tree or a stone. But I think Jeanneret, whatever happened, would always build something…although I’m not sure whether Corbu would”.

If there were a cataclysm and only a handful of architects were left on earth among the stones and the trees, they would die very quickly because they would not know how to use a tree or a stone. But I think Jeanneret, whatever happened, would always build something…although I’m not sure whether Corbu would.

Jean Prouvé

Pierre Jeanneret

Arnold Andre Pierre Jeanneret-Gris was born in Geneva in 1896. As a child, Jeanneret had a natural talent for the arts. He began his formal training at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Geneva, graduating in 1921. Jeanneret was close friends with his older cousin Le Corbusier (born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret), and in 1922 the two opened a design atelier in Paris where Jeanneret was an active writer for the landmark avant-garde publication L'Esprit Nouveau. Jeanneret and Le Corbusier collaborated on numerous projects including Villa Savoie, the Pavillon de L'Esprit Nouveau for the Exposition Internationale des Arts-Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes, and the Cité de Refuge. In 1940 Jeanneret and Le Corbusier parted ways over differences brought on by the war.

Jeanneret started his own firm in Grenoble, where he worked with fellow designer Jean Prouvé to create new concepts for pre-fabricated housing. Le Corbusier and Jeanneret reconciled following the end of World War II and in 1947, they received a commission to design the entire city of Chandigarh, India. Jeanneret moved to Chandigarh, and provided on-the-ground supervision with the set-up and construction of the buildings for more than fifteen years. Jeanneret designed the Governor’s Palace, the State Library, and the City Hall, in addition to fabricating much of the furniture and interiors after Le Corbusier decided to abandon the project mid-way through its construction. Following the completion, Jeanneret stayed on in India as the head of the architectural department at the University of the Punjab. In his later years, Jeanneret was particularly interested in urban planning and the mechanical means of controlling the environment. 

Auction Results Pierre Jeanneret

PIERRE JEANNERET, pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $179,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $179,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, Committee armchairs from the High Court, Chandigarh, set of ten | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

Committee armchairs from the High Court, Chandigarh, set of ten
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $137,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, Rare Periodical bibliotheque from Punjab University, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

Rare Periodical bibliotheque from Punjab University, Chandigarh
estimate: $70,000–90,000
result: $106,250

PIERRE JEANNERET, pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $100,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, sofa from Punjab University, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

sofa from Punjab University, Chandigarh
estimate: $25,000–30,000
result: $88,900

PIERRE JEANNERET, Rare lounge chairs, pair | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

Rare lounge chairs, pair
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $87,500

PIERRE JEANNERET, pair of lounge chairs from Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

pair of lounge chairs from Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $75,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, set of four armchairs from Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

set of four armchairs from Chandigarh
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $74,500

PIERRE JEANNERET, Rare lounge chairs, pair | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

Rare lounge chairs, pair
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $68,750

PIERRE JEANNERET, set of four chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

set of four chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh
estimate: $12,000–15,000
result: $68,500

PIERRE JEANNERET, cafeteria table and four chairs from Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

cafeteria table and four chairs from Chandigarh
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $65,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, sofa from Punjab University, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

sofa from Punjab University, Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $65,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, lounge chair from Chandigarh, India | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

lounge chair from Chandigarh, India
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $62,500

PIERRE JEANNERET, sofa from the High Court, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

sofa from the High Court, Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $60,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, pair of rare lounge chairs from the Yves Korbendau residence, Rabat | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

pair of rare lounge chairs from the Yves Korbendau residence, Rabat
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $60,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, pair of Kangourou lounge chairs from Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

pair of Kangourou lounge chairs from Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $57,500

PIERRE JEANNERET, pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $57,500

PIERRE JEANNERET, set of six dining chairs from Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

set of six dining chairs from Chandigarh
estimate: $15,000–20,000
result: $55,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, lounge chairs from Chandigarh, pair | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

lounge chairs from Chandigarh, pair
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $55,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, sofa from Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

sofa from Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–50,000
result: $52,500

PIERRE JEANNERET, pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

pair of lounge chairs from Punjab University, Chandigarh
estimate: $30,000–40,000
result: $51,250

PIERRE JEANNERET, armchairs from Chandigarh, set of eight | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

armchairs from Chandigarh, set of eight
estimate: $20,000–30,000
result: $50,000

PIERRE JEANNERET, file rack from the Administrative buildings, Chandigarh | Wright20.com

Pierre Jeanneret

file rack from the Administrative buildings, Chandigarh
estimate: $10,000–15,000
result: $50,000

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