n Paris, the newly opened Galerie Bouvier – Le Ny is a treasure trove for post-war French furniture, in particular pieces designed and manufactured between ’45 - ’55. As wide as its front, this gallery space has some real gems, from Le Corbusier and Charlotte Perriand to Gustave Gautier and Jean Prouvé. Its selling point, French interior design from the aftermath of the Second World War, takes up where the modern avant-garde movement left off, paving the way for industrial design of the sixties.
We are in the VI arrondissement, in Saint-Germain, a Mecca for Parisian antique dealers. Close by we also have the Jardin du Luxembourg, the row of galleries in rue Bonaparte, the Sorbonne University and the church of Saint-Sulpice with its extraordinary frescoes by Eugène Delacroix, which after Notre-Dame is the second largest church in Paris. So, to own a space here, is possibly the dream of every gallerist around the world.
Galerie Bouvier – Le Ny comes from the happy partnership of two lovers of French twentieth century design: Jean-Baptiste Bouvier and Pierre Le Ny. Jean-Baptiste specialised in figurative art in Strasburg. And after running L’esprit Nouveau, his first gallery space in Paris, in 2010 he settled in the famous Marché Paul Bert (the flea market), where he focused on post-war furniture. Pierre comes from the world of music, after years working at Sony Music, he became artistic director of Labelmusic, a label which represents, among others, Woodkid. In 2016, they opened their gallery space in rue de Tournon, which started trading in June.
For the most part, this gallery sells pieces by architects and decorative artists who belonged to the U.A.M movement, the union of modern artists set up in 1928 by Robert Mallet-Stevens and active until 1958, which among others included Le Corbusier, Pierre Jeanneret, Charlotte Perriand, Eileen Gray, Marcel Gascoin, Jean Prouvé and Pierre Chareau. In short, all the most influential members of the functionalist movement, which with their clean aesthetics and rational manufacturing processes still inspire contemporary designers.
Jean-Baptiste and Pierre’s principle aim was to salvage and sell pieces, which represent the first step towards mass-produced furniture, and are symbolic of a precise moment in time, namely a bridge between two epoch-making periods. They have succeeded in this endeavour, and this is just a first step. Without a doubt, they will take many more, since we understand the vital importance of historical memory and how it can inspire fresh new ideas in tune with the times we live in.