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Magazine    April 2017



The French designer Jean Royère had as much going on in the Middle East as he did in Europe, and while his most famous commission outside his home country was for the Shah of Iran he also had a thriving office in Lebanon. A number of upholstered pieces made by Royère’s design studio in Beirut have recently surfaced in Chicago at the Alan Koppel Gallery.

“The furniture I acquired for the gallery is elegant and the pieces were made to look sumptuous with their velvet upholstery,” says Alan Koppel. “But they’re out of the ordinary because their shapes are quite innovative.” The burnt-orange velvet chairs were originally made for the Al Bahar, an exclusive hotel in the Lebanese mountains whose interiors were designed by Royère and where Lebanon’s high society played bridge.

Koppel also came by a Royère club chair and ottoman as well as some other upholstered pieces from the house of an important textile dealer, and he is showing the furniture, which he has had reupholstered in a velvet that is almost identical to the original, with the contemporary art he is known for selling. The club chair and ottoman are in an ensemble with a Peter Halley painting in acrylic called Super Size (above left). The orange chairs are set in front of a 1960 collage by the French artist Jacques Villeglé (below left).

“Although the focus of my gallery is on paintings, photography, sculpture and works on paper, I’ve always had an interest in modern furniture and I collect it personally,” says Koppel. “When I travel to Europe I’m always looking for decorative arts and whatever I buy has a unique quality.”

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