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The Maharaja of Indore's "Transat" chair, from Manik Bagh Palace, 1930 – Eileen Gray

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Eileen Gray\nThe Maharaja of Indore's "Transat" chair, from Manik Bagh Palace\n1930\nLacquered wood, nickel-plated metal, leather, fabric.\n29 x 20 7/8 x 35 1/4 in. (73.7 x 53 x 89.5 cm)




THE MAHARAJA OF INDORE'S 'TRANSAT' CHAIR by EILEEN GRAYAfter completing his preliminary studies in India, the young Maharaja of Indore Yashwant Rao Holkar II discovered western culture during his years spent as a student in England. It was there that he met the architect Eckhart Muthesius, whom he commissioned to design his palace, named Manik Bagh (Garden of Rubies) in Indore. Deceptively simple from the exterior, the sprawling interior was elaborately decorated with a vast array of iconic modernist works. The Maharaja’s attraction to modernity and architecture further developed during visits to important international art fairs in Paris, London and Berlin. During these frequent trips he would commission works from artists, architects and designers alike. Manik Bagh quickly became an homage to modernism, with important works by Émile-Jacques Ruhlmann, Louis Sognot, Charlotte Alix and Ivan da Silva Bruhns. The Maharaja filled his new palace with these acquisitions, creating a space that allowed the coexistence of both Indian and Western traditions. Muthesius stated of the results: “these modern installations and appliances, such as indirect lighting, metallic walls and ceilings, a generous use of glass in the rooms and fittings, cooling artificial leather, smooth woods and metal, invests the rooms of the palace with a pleasing air of dignity and comfort.” The palace was carefully preserved until the Maharaja’s death in 1956, when the rooms were converted into offices. In 1976 during a period of political change the Maharaja’s privileges were revoked and the palace was consequently sold and the interior dismantled. In the intervening decades much of the furnishings and artwork has appeared on the market, most famously in the Sotheby’s 1980 auction, “Mobilier Moderniste: Provenant du Palais du Maharaja d’Indore.”Eileen Gray designed the “Transat” (an abbreviation of “transatlantique”) in 1925-1926 for her Villa E 1027 in Roquebrune, on the Côte d'Azur. With an adjustable headrest and occasionally a sling seat, the chair was clearly informed by the simple functionalism of a deck chair, well-suited to her home that was itself intended to evoke a sense of living on a houseboat. The design marks Gray’s transition towards modernism which she embraced during the mid-1920s. The present iconic design is a perfect expression of her individualist approach, in which thoughtfully considered materials, artistic form and engagement with human behaviors are considered in her adoption of basic modernist principals.The design was produced in small and long versions, with sycamore and lacquered arms, and with canvas, fabric, pony skin and leather seats. Twelve armchairs are known to have been created, and nine to exist. Of this small group, four are in sycamore and five in lacquer. The present example retains its original material pairing of black lacquer and natural leather. This unique and exquisite combination was in keeping with the color palette of the Maharaja of Indore’s bedroom in Manik Bagh’s palace. "Transat" armchairs are in the permanent collections of The Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.


The Maharaja of Indore's "Transat" chair, from Manik Bagh Palace


Lacquered wood, nickel-plated metal, leather, fabric.


Eileen Gray


Very fine condition consistent with age and environmental effects. Original leather with deep natural patina, dryness, crazing, discolorations, scattered small tears and historical repairs. Original fabric seat backing with faint staining. Metal with shallow surface scratches, tarnish and areas of breakdown to plating exposing base metal. Original lacquer with a few nicks, scratches and separations. Selected and isolated surface conservations were performed on the occasion of the chair's exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou in 2013. Isolated lifting, losses and old restorations, mainly occurring at corners of armrests and edges, were addressed at that time. The conservator's full report is available upon request.


"Eileen Gray," Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, February 20-May 20, 2013 and then traveled to Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, October 12, 2013-January 19, 2014


29 x 20 7/8 x 35 1/4 in. (73.7 x 53 x 89.5 cm)


ILLUSTRATEDPhilippe Garner, Twentieth-Century Furniture, New York, 1980, p. 110Peter Adam, Eileen Gray: Architect-Designer, London, 1987, pp. 188, 247Patricia Bayer, Art Deco Interiors, London, 1990, p. 136Philippe Garner, Eileen Gray: Designer and Architect, Berlin, 1993, pp. 36, 103Reto Niggl, Eckart Muthesius 1930: The Maharaja's Palace in Indore, Architecture and Interior, Stuttgart, 1996, p. 74Pierre Kjellberg, Art Déco: Les Maîtres du Mobilier – Le Décor des Paquebots, Paris, 1998, p. 110Reto Niggl, Eckart Muthesius: India, 1930 - 1939, Berlin, 1999, p. 70Le Palais Du Maharajah D'Indore; photographs, exh. cat., Galerie Doria, Paris, 2006, p. 89Peter Adam, Eileen Gray: Her Life and Work, Munich, 2008, front cover pp. 96, 281Jennifer Goff, "Shades of Gray," Irish Arts Review, September-November 2013, p. 107Eileen Gray sous la direction de Cloé Pitiot, exh. cat., Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2013, pp. 69, 187


Maharaja Holkar of Indore, Manik Bagh Palace, Indore, IndiaSotheby Parke Bernet, Monaco, "Mobilier Moderniste: Provenant du Palais du Maharaja d'Indore," May 25, 1980, lot 204Private collectionSotheby's, Paris, "Arts Décoratifs du XXe Siècle & Design Contemporain," November 22, 2011, lot 135Acquired from the above directly after the sale

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*Vänligen notera att att priset inte är omräknat till dagens värde, utan avser slutpriset vid tidpunkten när föremålet såldes.