Poltrona di Proust 1978 (this exemplar 1986)
Alessandro Mendini IT
Studio Alchimia IT
painted wood, painted cotton
purchase from Studio Alchimia, 1986
This postmodern chair came into being when Alessandro Mendini wanted to design a textile inspired by the work of the French writer Marcel Proust. He visited the places where the writer had stayed and immersed himself in the world that Proust conjures up in his novels. That gave him the idea of dedicating a chair to him. He painted a kitschy replica of an eighteenth-century chair with a pattern based on a pointillist painting by Paul Signac. That pattern continues across the entire surface of the chair, as a result of which, according to Mendini, it seems as though the chair dissolves in mist. Some see similarities between the narrative style of Proust and impressionism. The impressionists painted with interrupted brushstrokes, forcing viewers to look longer before they can grasp the scene. In A la recherche du temps perdu, Proust is said to have fashioned his characters in a similar fragmentary manner, which demands time of the reader to fathom their complex personality.
Alessandro Mendini, The story of the Proust chair, 2001, www.ateliermendini.it;
Laurent Mauvignier, Proust the impressionist, www.frenchculture.org.