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Special to the tribune
Chandigarh’s heritage to be auctioned 
The furniture was designed by Corbusier’s cousin & architect-designer Pierre Jeanneret
Shyam Bhatia in London

London, September 22
The furniture was designed by Le Corbusier’s Swiss cousin, architect and designer Pierre Jeanneret who passed away in 1967. The items are being sold by Bonhams auctioneers here as part of their Post-War and Contemporary Art and Design Sale.

Bonhams confirm there have been attempts to halt the sale and question marks over the provenance of the furniture. “We went the extra mile with this,” a Bonham spokesperson told the Tribune. “We felt the provenance was waterproof and decided to go ahead with it. We are not in the habit of selling items of questionable provenance.”

When Le Corbusier was selected to plan and design Chandigarh in 1951, he made it a condition of his appointment to involve Jeanneret, who had worked with him on and off for the previous four decades.

An article in Bonhams magazine earlier this year commented: “The two cousins liked to design everything from the overall plan to the individual pieces of furniture... the architects’ involvement ran from the placement of buildings and districts to the tapestries Le Corbusier designed for the Law Courts...”

It was Jeanneret who designed many of the furniture items for the official buildings in Chandigarh, including an Indian rosewood and leather desk and teak and cane chair from the Administrative Buildings (estimate £4,000-6,000), a Magistrate’s chair (estimate £3,000-5,000), three Senate chairs from the Legislative Assembly (estimate £7,000-10,000), a set of six library chairs (estimate £5,000-7,000) and a pair of easy chairs from Panjab University (estimate £4,000-6,000).

Although Le Corbusier left early, Jeanneret stayed on as Chief Architect of the City until 1965. When he died in 1967, his ashes were scattered in Chandigarh’s Sukhna Lake, as per his wish.

Some of the items for sale in London are from the private collection of London architects Jane Drew and Maxwell Fry who worked in Chandigarh with Corbusier and Jeanneret.





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