Frequent collaborateurs and fellow dealers Patrick Seguin and Jacques Lacoste present their latest endeavor — a comprehensive catalogue of designer Jean Royère. Here, we speak with Seguin about the process.
Tali Jaffe: Your commitment to the work of Jean Royère is a great example of the many roles a dealer plays: historian, enthusiast, seller, guardian. How do you define the role of the dealer?
Patrick Seguin: Obviously, he has to be a good seller, but according to me the role of a dealer is to be most re- sponsible for the level of quality of the pieces. In this respect, the dealer has to be an expert.
Tali Jaffe: When you and Jacques Lacoste first collaborated on the exhibition at Sonnabend Gallery in New York in 2008, did you think it would lead to an ongoing collaboration like this?
Patrick Seguin: We began to prepare this project in 2006 for the exhibition to exist in 2008, but we have known each other for over 20 years. This collaboration got reinforced throughout this project, and be- sides, we own the archives as a whole together.
Tali Jaffe: What were the advantages of working with Jacques Lacoste on this project?
Patrick Seguin: Jacques Lacoste has a very good empirical knowledge of the market and of the whole work of Jean Royère.
Tali Jaffe: Jean Royère contains interviews with Lorenz Baümer, Béatrice Salmon and Christian Lacroix. How did you come to choose these contributors?
Patrick Seguin: The choice of these three contributors came up since we wanted to approach the work of Jean Royère from different points of view: the museum’s angle with Béatrice Salmon, director of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, which has an important stock of archives of Jean Royère; the collector’s angle with Lorenz Baümer; and the creator’s angle with Christian Lacroix.
Tali Jaffe: Why did you decide that now was the time for this in-depth, two-volume box set? When did you first begin working on the book?
Patrick Seguin: It seemed legitimate to gather the works of Jean Royère in a thorough catalogue. We began to work together in 2006, and we made the decision to make such a publication since this kind of catalogue did not exist, even though some books and exhibition catalogues have already been published.
Tali Jaffe: There’s also an incredible sketchbook of 156 original drawings that have never before been published. How did you gather these materials, and from where or whom did you get them?
Patrick Seguin: Most of these drawings have never been reproduced. They come from an archive collection that belongs to both Lacoste and us. It contains 3,000 documents, plans, pictures, drawings, original invoices, etc.
Tali Jaffe: Personally, which of Royère’s works do you consider among the most important?
Patrick Seguin: Without a doubt, the Polar Bear sofa and armchairs. These are exceptional pieces for several reasons: their modernity, their design, as well as their inner conception—this sculptural structure that gives birth to a completely new shape.
Tali Jaffe: What was one of the most surprising things you learned about Royère?
Patrick Seguin: His permanent freedom. Jean Royère doesn’t stop himself from doing anything. There was no no creativity—no audacity—he was afraid of, undoubtedly because he is a complete master of his work.